The 40 players nominated for the UEFA Golden Boy award

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Individual accolades in football is a concept that certainly splits opinion.

Some may state that individual players shouldn’t be rewarded when there are 10 other players in each team that help them reach their goals, while others are happy that the best players are being recognised for their incredible ability.

The most renowned individual award in football is the Ballon d’Or, which has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since 2008.

But before players reach the standard to be considered for this infamous accolade, there is another award they aim to win in the early stage of the career. That is, of course, the UEFA Golden Boy Award.

A look at the previous winners of the award, which was established by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in 2003, shows that the winners usually go on to have incredible careers - although there are some notable exceptions.

The likes of Messi (2005), Sergio Aguero (2007) and Paul Pogba (2013) have all lifted the trophy - while Anderson (2008), Alexandre Pato (2009) and Mario Balotelli (2010) have failed to fulfil their potential after being voted the UEFA Golden Boy.

And UEFA have now announced the 40 hot prospects that will compete for the 2016 award - and it includes seven Premier League players.

With the three previous winners - Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Anthony Martial all currently starring in the Premier League - the likes of Marcus Rashford, Kelechi Iheanacho and Dele Alli will be hoping to bring the trophy back to England again.

But those three face tough competition from around Europe as there are 37 other incredible talented players vying for the award.

To be nominated, you must be under 21-years-old from the start of the calendar year and be registered to a European club.

Here is the complete list of nominees:

Leon Bailey | Club: Ghent 

Youri Tielemans | Club: Anderlecht 

Julian Brandt | Club: Bayer Leverkusen 

Andreas Christensen | Club: Borussia Monchengladbach 

Kingsley Coman | Club: Bayern Munich

Mahmoud Dahoud | Club: Borussia Monchengladbach 

Ousmane Dembélé | Club: Borussia Dortmund 

Breel Embolo | Club: Schalke 

Alen Halilovic | Club: Hamburg 

Renato Sanches | Club: Bayern Munich

Jonathan Tah | Club: Bayer Leverkusen 

Ante Coric | Club: Dinamo Zagreb 

Riechedley Bazoer | Club: Ajax 

Nathan | Club: Vitesse 

Jairo Riedewald | Club: Ajax 

Marco Asensio | Club: Real Madrid 

Carlos Fernández | Club: Sevilla 

Lucas Hernández | Club: Atlético Madrid

Tonny Sanabria | Club: Real Betis 

Gabriel Boschilia | Club: Monaco 

Emmanuel Mammana | Club: Lyon 

Almamy Touré | Club: Monaco 

Gonçalo Guedes | Club: Benfica

Ruben Neves | Club: Porto

Leroy Sané | Club: Manchester City

Dele Alli | Club: Tottenham

Demarai Gray | Club: Leicester City

Marko Grujic | Club: Liverpool 

Kelechi Iheanacho | Club: Manchester City 

Alex Iwobi | Club: Arsenal 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek | Club: Chelsea 

Marcus Rashford | Club: Manchester United 

Aleksandr Golovin | Club: CSKA Moscow 

Moussa Dembélé | Club: Celtic 

Amadou Diawara | Club: Napoli 

Gianluigi Donnarumma | Club: AC Milan 

Gabriel Barbosa | Club: Inter Milan

Olivier Ntcham | Club: Genoa 

Viktor Kovalenko | Club: Shakhtar Donetsk

Newspapers vote for the winner of the award and they include Bild (Germany), Blick (Switzerland), A Bola (Portugal), l'Équipe (France), France Football (France), Marca (Spain), Mundo Deportivo (Spain), Ta Nea (Greece), Sport Express (Russia), De Telegraaf (Netherlands), and The Times (United Kingdom).

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