Italian publication Tuttosport have this morning published the full list of nominees for their annual Golden Boy award.
The award, created in 2003, is voted on by sports journalists from select publications across Europe, to a player under the age of 21 who is deemed to have had the most impressive calendar year (i.e. the back end of last season and the first half of this).
Among the nominees this year are eight currently based in the Premier League, namely Dele Alli of Tottenham, Leroy Sané and Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City, Liverpool’s Marko Grujic, Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea, Leicester winger Demarai Gray and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.
Andreas Christensen, the Chelsea defender on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Nathan, on loan at Vitesse, are also included.
The Premier League has quite a strong record in winning this award, with Mario Balotelli, Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Anderson having won in previous years, and Raheem Sterling and Anthony Martial the last two recipients.
Officially, the Bundesliga has the highest number of nominations. The German youth system has become something of a talent factory in the past few years and this is well reflected as nine players have seen their names included.
However, the number of players from La Liga is surprisingly low, with only four finding themselves on the list, the same number as Italy’s Serie A.
Among the nominees are Portugal’s Renato Sanches, who announced his arrival to the world stage with a €35m to Bayern and brilliant performances at Euro 2016, Gianluigi Donnarumma, AC Milan’s 17-year-old goalkeeper who was thrown in at the deep end last year and has been a mainstay ever since, and Gabriel Barbosa, the Inter forward dubbed the ‘new Neymar’ (despite being just four years younger than ‘current Neymar’).
All in all, get used to these names because you’re going to see almost all of them linked with £40m moves to Manchester United and Arsenal next summer.
The full list of nominees can be found below (sorted by nation of club), and the winner will be announced in December.
Germany: Julian Brandt, Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen), Andreas Christensen, Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Kingsley Coman, Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich) , Ousmane Dembélé (Borussia Dortmund), Breel Embolo (Schalke) Alen Halilovic (Hamburg)
England: Leroy Sané, Kelechi Iheancaho (Manchester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Marko Grujic (Liverpool), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Demarai Gray (Leicester City)
Spain: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Carlos Fernández (Sevilla), Tonny Sanabria (Real Betis), Lucas Hernández (Atlético Madrid)
Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Gabriel Barbosa (Internazionale), Olivier Ntcham (Genoa), Amadou Diawara (Napoli)
France: Emmanuel Mammana (Lyon), Almamy Touré, Gabriel Boschilia (Monaco)
Netherlands: Nathan (Vitesse), Jairo Riedewald, Riechedley Bazoer (Ajax)
Portugal: Gonçalo Guedes, Danilo Barbosa (Benfica), Ruben Neves (Porto)
Belgium: Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht), Leon Bailey (KRC Genk)
Croatia: Ante Coric (GNK Dinamo)
Scotland: Moussa Dembélé (Celtic)
Ukraine: Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Russia: Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow)