Marcus Rashford was beaten by only one player for coveted Golden Boy award

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Marcus Rashford's rapid rise from Manchester United youth player to bonafide star for club and country over the past eight months or so has been one of the stories of European football.

Indeed, having become United's youngest ever goalscorer in Europe with a brace on his full debut, and with 12 goals in his first 29 games for the club thus far, a lot of fans would be hard-pressed to pick a more exciting youngster plying their trade in the continent right now than the 18-year-old striker.

Well, as it turns out, there is exactly one talented youngster who ranks above Rashford. That, at least, is according to the 2016 Golden Boy award, the top three of which was announced today.

On the same day that the 30 finalists for the most coveted individual prize in senior football, the Balon d'Or, were revealed, the equivalent for the next generation of superstars announced the top three for 2016.

And, unfortunately for those United fans hoping for some good news after Sunday's disastrous result against Chelsea, Rashford had to settle for second place in the rankings after votes from sports journalists across Europe had been cast.

The young forward was able to beat out another rising star of the English game who had been nominated for the award, Tottenham's Dele Alli, to take his place in the top three, but he was ultimately sandwiched between two of Bayern Munich's most promising talents.

Top 3

Pacey French winger Kingsley Coman came in third after a debut season with Bayern that saw him score six goals and earn a place in France's Euro 2016 squad.

Coming in as Europe's most talented player under the age of 21, however, was Coman's teammate and recently crowned Euro 2016 winner with Portugal, Renato Sanches.

Sanches, 19, has had a phenomenal year and is a deserving winner of the Golden Boy award. 

The winger played a key role as Benfica lifted the 2015/16 title in Portugal before making a name for himself with some big games, and key goals, in Portugal's run to Euro 2016 glory this summer.

With Bayern having forked out an initial  €35 million for him before the tournament in France had even got underway, he was already earmarked for a big future in the game before his breakout summer.

While Rashford can count himself unfortunate to have come up against a man of the talents of Sanches this year, the future is still bright for the England striker.

If his next 12 months is anything like as successful as his brief time as a senior pro so far, you wouldn't bet against the Manchester-born forward moving up from second to first by the time the 2017 Golden Boy winner is announced.

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Premier League
Marcus Rashford
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Bayern Munich

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