Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has won the prestigious Golden Boy award for 2014 after being voted by journalists from across the continent as the best player under the age of 21 in all top-flight leagues across Europe.
The England international beat a host of fellow Premier League stars like Manchester United's £27 million left-back Luke Shaw, Arsenal defender Calum Chambers, Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier and Everton's John Stones to the individual accolade.
Sterling becomes only the second English player to scoop the prize after Wayne Rooney back in 2004, and follows in the footsteps of some of world football's biggest names - like Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero - in being recognised for his outstanding form over a calendar year.
“It’s a great achievement to win such an award,” Sterling told Liverpool’s official website. “It’s a really happy feeling for me and my family.
“Something I’ve always wanted to do is to work hard playing football and try to be recognised. I’m really grateful that people have shown me this recognition.
Article continues below
“It’s down to hard work. I’m really happy that people are recognising that I’m trying to work hard and do my best for this football club. I’m really grateful for this award.”
There were a total of ten Premier League based players nominated on the 40-man shortlist, with Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham), Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi (Liverpool) joining the aforementioned stars on the star-studded line-up.
Sterling succeeds last year's winner Paul Pogba, the French midfielder that is now widely regarded as one of the most talented players in his position in world football after his instrumental part in Juventus' back-to-back Serie 'A' titles.