Saka, Greenwood and Bellingham nominated for the Golden Boy award

Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood, Jude Bellingham and Billy Gilmour are all nominated for the Golden Boy award as 100-strong list is unveiled for the best Under 21 player… with previous winners including Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland

  • The Golden Boy award is awarded to the best Under 21 player featuring in Europe
  • Premier League players make up 15 of the 100 players initially nominated
  • Five of the big six Premier League clubs feature – Arsenal boasting four names
  • But there is not a single nomination for any Tottenham Hotspur player
  • New England Euro 2020 star Jude Bellingham features for Borussia Dortmund
  • Many previous winners have gone to create impressive careers in the game 

England stars including Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood and Jude Bellingham have made a list of 100 initial nominees for this year’s Golden Boy award.

The award, which was established in 2003, is presented annually to the best young player under 21 and featuring across the top tier leagues in Europe.

From the 100 names published by one of the founders and contributors to the award in Italian outlet Tuttosport, there are 15 featuring from the Premier League with Arsenal boasting the most nominees from England with four players.

New England star Jude Bellingham is among the 100-strong Golden Boy nomination list

Bukayo Saka (left) and Mason Greenwood are also named for Arsenal and Manchester United

They include England star Bukayo Saka, with Gabriel Martinelli, Folarin Balogun and William Saliba all featuring.

Chelsea have three nominees including Scotland star Billy Gilmour as well as Tino Anjorin and Armando Broja.

Both Manchester clubs are represented twice, with United featuring the more recognised Mason Greenwood and Amad Diallo while City make the list with Filip Stevanovic and Adrian Bernabe.

Wolves stars Rayan Ait-Nouri and Fabio Silva make the cut as do Curtis Jones and Luke Thomas for Liverpool and Leicester City respectively.

Scotland and Chelsea star Billy Gilmour is nominated having won the Champions League

However, among the Premier League’s ‘big six’ there is not a single nomination for any of Tottenham Hotspur’s Under 21 players.

Another English star features on the list though with Euro 2020 call-up Jude Bellingham making the cut following an excellent display in his first season at Borussia Dortmund.

The nominations take into account the form of a player throughout the calendar year, so the existing 100 names will be judged again before the end of the year when a winner is announced.

Bellingham’s Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland is the current holder of the award which sees journalists across European publications nominate their top five players.

Erling Haaland is the holder of the award given to the best Under 21 star based in Europe


2003: Rafael van der Vaart (Ajax)

2004: Wayne Rooney (Everton/Manchester United)

2005: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2006: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)

2007: Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid)

2008: Anderson (Manchester United)

2009: Alex Pato (AC Milan)

2010: Mario Balotelli (Inter Milan/Manchester City)

2011: Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund)

2012: Isco (Malaga) 

2013: Paul Pogba (Juventus)

2014: Raheem  Sterling (Liverpool)

2015: Anthony Martial (Monaco/Manchester United)

2016: Renato Sanches (Benfica/Bayern Munich)

2017: Kylian Mbappe (Monaco/Paris Saint-Germain)

2018: Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

2019: Joao Felix (Benfica/Atletico Madrid)

2020: Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund

They are scored in order of a top five basis  – giving them a point value in allocation from 10 points down to , seven, five, three and one point.

Many of the previous winners have gone to star in the game including Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero who all picked up the award in the years following Rafael van der Vaart’s inaugural win in 2003.

Other notable winners include Mario Balotelli in 2010, Paul Pogba while he was Juventus in 2013 and Raheem Sterling who picked up the award while a Liverpool star in 2014.

More recently, Kylian Mbappe collected the accolade in 2017 following an excellent year for Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.

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