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The top 20 players to look out for after the Golden Boy 2018 awards

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The Golden Boy awards are a chance to appreciate the rising stars of world football. 

Created by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in 2003, the competition has an impressive selection of winners who matched and even exceeded their potential, with others falling by the wayside later in their career failing to justify the award.

The accolade has come around again for another year and the top 20 have been revealed after some careful consideration from journalists at 11 of the top newspapers from nine different countries.

From Rafael van der Vaart winning the inaugural competition in 2003 to Lionel Messi picking up the award in 2005, the list is star-studded.

So who managed to snap up the accolade this year and who else should we be looking out for in the top 20?

Here is all you need to know about the top 20 of the Golden Boy awards 2018:

20. Jonathan Ikone (Lille)

Ikone has taken Ligue 1 by surprise this season after signing from PSG in the summer.

The 20-year-old has shown unbridled flair and a burst of pace, if he can add a more cynical eye for goal, then we can start talking about the finished article

FBL-FRA-L1-LILLE-CAEN

19. Kelvin Amian (Toulouse)

Despite Toulouse leaking 24 goals so far this season their shining light at the back has been 20- years-old Kelvin Amian.

He has blended the modern attacking style of a full-back with the traditional clam and assured defensive capabilities. Watch this space.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-TOULOUSE-NIMES

18. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)

Edouard has been lighting up the Scottish Premiership this season bagging eight goals so far, with 13 in all competitions.

Unfortunately for Celtic fans, it seems highly likely they will hold onto him for long but after only spending £9 million on the youngster, it's already proven a bargain regardless of how long he stays for.

Celtic v Kilmarnock - Scottish Ladbrokes Premiership

17. Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg)

Brekalo's time on loan at Stuttgart has clearly improved the winger as a player, with the 20-year-old now a permanent fixture on the left-hand side for Wolfsburg.

Brekalo has only scored twice and bagged one assist in 15 league games, but consistent game time will only enhance his qualities.

No doubt a future regular for Croatia after Perisic hangs up his boots.

England v Croatia - UEFA Nations League A

16. Tom Davies (Everton)

Our first contestant from the Premier League.

Tom Davies is still only 20 despite now being in his third season as an Everton regular.

His game time has actually diminished quite significantly recently but did have the honour of having three games earlier in the season as captain of the Toffees.

Manchester City v Everton FC - Premier League

15. Eder Militao (Porto)

Militao joined Porto from Sao Paolo at the beginning of the season as has made surprisingly fast progress getting far more game time in Liga NOS than most expected.

The Brazilian is already physically built in order to deal with the aggressive nature of European football and to add to that has made his debut for his country. 

Things are looking up for the central defender.

FBL-POR-LEAGUE 1-PORTO-PORTIMONENSE

14. Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)

Dalot hasn't really had a chance to show any true quality for Man United although this is mainly down to the Reds already suffering from a fragile back-four.

The 19-year-old will no doubt prove a shrewd piece of business, with Dalot already experiencing league success with Porto.

Jose Mourinho will be hoping that some of United's senior players can help Dalot in his development.

Manchester United v Fulham FC - Premier League

13. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

You may be surprised to see Kylian Mbappe so low on this list, but we think it's predominantly due to the fact that he is already one of the world's best - finishing fourth in the Ballon d'Or - and is therefore overlooked.

What can you say about him though? 

67 club goals, 10 goals for his country, two Ligue 1 trophies, a World Cup triumph and the Golden Boy of 2017.

He is still only 19.

FBL-EUR-C1-BELGRADE-PSG

12. Amadou Haidara (Red Bull Salzburg)

The Malian-international has made the centre of park his own at Red Bull Salzburg.

Despite being only 5 feet 9, Haidara poses a rather imposing figure, although the Austrian-side will have to do without for the next four months after he picked up a knee injury at the end of November.

FBL-EUR-C3-SALZBURG-ROSENBERG

11. Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb)

Probably the most unknown name on the list but not one to be overlooked whatsoever.

Olmo has managed to make 52 league appearances already for Zagreb and at the age of just 20 could have potentially already outgrown the Croatian league.

Olmo is from Spain and has made four under 21 appearances, however he expressed the desire to play for Croatia - Olmo failed to earn Croatian citizenship.

FBL-EUR-C3-ANDERLECHT-DINAMO

10. Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

Jumping from one Red Bull club to another, Upamecano left Salzburg for Leipzig in January of 2017 and simply as not looked back.

Upamecano has not only improved mentally and physically in the tougher more demanding German Bundesliga, he also became a goal threat - scoring three goals so far this season.

Celtic v RB Leipzig - UEFA Europa League - Group B

9. Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Phil Foden would be a regular for most teams in Europe but with the undeniable quality that Manchester City have, his game-time has been limited.

His potential is still very apparent though and at just 18-years-old the sky is the limit.

On the bright side, Foden has already made 14 appearances for City this season - four more than the entirety of last season.

Manchester City v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - UEFA Champions League Group F

8. Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)

Like many Hakimi struggled to break into the Real Madrid side first time of asking and so was sent on loan to another top side in Borussia Dortmund.

No one expected the Dortmund that has come out this season displaying fast attacking football while being competent defensively.

While Marco Reus, Paco Alcacer and Jadon Sancho have taken the majority of the plaudits, Hakimi is thriving in his new environment.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Group A

7. Gedson Fernandes (Benfica)

Fernandes has already made two appearances for the European Champions, Portugal, and has displayed a level of composure in the centre of midfield unlike many other 19-year-olds.

Born in São Tomé and Príncipe, Fernandes is hoping to keep his place as Benfica look to claw back their four-point deficit over Porto at the top of the Portuguese league.

Benfica v Fenerbache - UEFA Champions League Qualifier

6. Houssem Aouar (Lyon)

A player with supreme technical ability, Aouar has 11 goals this season for Lyon in all competitions and looks to be an integral part of their side for years to come.

The 20-year-olds versatility could also come in handy for the French side, with Aouar competent anywhere across the middle of the park.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-LYON-MONACO

5. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

The youngest player in this list, unlike Hakimi it seems Vinicius has started to make some waves in the Real Madrid first team.

The 18-year-old impressed for Flamenco in the Brazilian Serie A and immediately implemented this form on the pitch for Los Galacticos earning a man-of-the-match performance in his first start for the club - a 4-0 win in the Copa Del Rey against Real Valladolid.

This guy could be something truly special.

Atletico MG v Flamengo - Brasileirao Series A 2018

4. Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan)

Italian fans are certainly excited about Patrick Cutrone, the AC Milan forward is only 20 but has scored 25 club goals already and look to be on the brink of being a regular for the national side - he has a solitary cap for his country thus far.

A true number nine, Cutrone has been given the moniker of new Filippo Inzaghi, no pressure Patrick.

Somehow we think he'll deal with the pressure just fine.

AC Milan v Parma Calcio - Serie A

3. Justin Kluivert (AS Roma)

When you have a dad like Patrick Kluivert, comparisons and expectations are made immediately.

Although Justin plays in a different position, he is showing the raw quality that his father possessed back in the '90s. 

Kluivert has finished third in this year's competition with one more chance to claim the trophy and he will no doubt be one of the favourites.

His form has dropped along with Roma's as his new side remain off the pace in sixth position, but expect this to merely be a momentary lapse.

AS Roma v Viktoria Plzen - UEFA Champions League Group G

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Alexander Arnold has quickly become a Liverpool cult-hero after a succession of impeccable performances from full back as well as his ability from set-pieces.

The 20-year-old just misses out in the last year that he could possibly win it to the frustration of Liverpool fans no doubt.

However with 63 appearances already for Liverpool and an impressive rate of improvement we could see the Englishman in contention for some more individual awards further down the line.

Watford FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

1. Matthijs De Ligt (Ajax)

It's finally happened. After 15 years the Golden Boy award has been given to a defender, and what a defender.

De Ligt - still only 19 - has already made over 100 club appearances, making a Europa League final and earning 13 caps for the Netherlands.

Ajax fans will be hoping that their success in the Champions League means they can hold onto De Ligt for a while, but this accolade will put his name on the lips of the elite names in the football.

Ajax v Royal Standard de Liege - UEFA Champions League third round qualifying match

Topics:
Football
Kylian Mbappe
Trent Alexander-Arnold
Paris Saint-Germain
Real Madrid
Liverpool

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