Tuttosport have revealed their 100-man longlist for the 2019 Golden Boy award, with current holder Matthijs de Ligt among those named.
It remains to be seen whether De Ligt successfully defends his title as unlike the Ballon d’Or, which is handed out by France Football magazine, there hasn’t been a back-to-back winner since the award was inaugurated in 2003.
What is the Golden Boy award? Five things to know…
- Created by Italian newspaper Tuttosport in 2003.
- Given to a footballer aged under 21 perceived to have been the best during a calendar year.
- Rafael van der Vaart was the inaugural winner and compatriot Matthijs de Ligt is the present holder.
- No fewer than six Eredivisie-based players are looking to succeed Ajax captain De Ligt.
- Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is among the heavy favourites.
Kylian Mbappé, who De Ligt succeeded, was among the 2018 nominees but didn’t make the final five despite playing a pivotal role in France winning a second World Cup that summer.
A who’s who of future stars have claimed the prize since Rafael van der Vaart was named the first winner. Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero were the Dutchman’s immediate four successors.
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Among the favourites in 2019 are Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho and midfielder Kai Havertz, who represents Bayer Leverkusen and Germany.
De Ligt was the second Eredivisie-based player to win, after Van der Vaart, and there are no fewer than six players shortlisted from the Dutch top division including his Ajax teammate Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, who made headlines following a 90th-minute tactical foul on Cristiano Ronaldo in Ajax’s first-leg quarter-final 1-1 draw against Juventus.
Every 2019 Golden Boy longlist entrant based in the Premier League
Arsenal (x4) Charlie Gilmour (released), Mattéo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah
Chelsea (x5) Ethan Ampadu, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Marc Guehi, Mason Mount, Dujon Sterling
Liverpool (x3) Rhian Brewster, Kamil Grabara, Benjamin Woodburn
Man City (x3) Phil Foden, Benjamín Antonio Garre, Lorenzo Gonzalez
Man Utd (x2) Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes
Tottenham (x2) Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Oliver Skipp
Watford Cucho Hernández
West Ham Mésaque Djú
Wolves Morgan Gibbs-White
The 2019 Golden Boy longlist can be viewed in full here.