Arsenal playmaker Bukayo Saka, Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham are on the 10-man shortlist for the 2021 Kopa Trophy
England trio Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood and Jude Bellingham have been named on the 10-man shortlist for the coveted Kopa Trophy.
The annual award is presented by France Football and recognises the best player in the world under the age of 21.
Former recipients of the Ballon d’Or select the winner, with Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe clinching the inaugural award in 2018 and Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt victorious the following year.
The Kopa Trophy was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Then-Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho finished second in the voting in 2019 and his Manchester United teammate Greenwood will be hoping to go one better this year.
Greenwood started the season in electric form with three goals in United’s first three Premier League games. The 20-year-old also ended the 2020/21 campaign brilliantly with six goals in his final eight top-flight appearances.
But Greenwood faces stern competition for the prestigious award, not least from his Three Lions teammates Saka and Bellingham.
Saka, 20, has quickly established himself as one of Arsenal’s most-important players and strengthened his claim to the Kopa Trophy with a brilliant goal-and-assist performance in last month’s north London derby.
Bellingham, meanwhile, continues to show maturity far beyond his 18 years with his sublime performances in Dortmund’s midfield. This season, the former Birmingham City starlet has chipped in with two goals and four assists.
Bellingham’s club teammate Giovanni Reyna, 18, is also shortlisted for the award, as are Bundesliga rivals Florian Wirtz, 18, of Bayer Leverkusen and Jamal Musiala, 18, of Bayern Munich.
With two nominees from the Premier League and four from the German top flight, the remaining four players are spread out across Spain, France and the Netherlands.
Action Images via Reuters)
Barcelona wonderkid Pedri is flying the flag for La Liga after playing an astonishing 52 games during his breakout season at Camp Nou, while also making further appearances for Spain at Euro 2020 and at the Olympics.
In neighbouring France, 19-year-old Rennes winger Jeremy Doku and Paris Saint-Germain new boy Nuno Mendes, 19, have been nominated.
Doku is considered one of the brightest talents in Ligue 1, while Mendes arrived at the Parc des Princes this summer after a brilliant double-winning season with Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.
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Last but not least is Ryan Gravenberch, the latest hotshot to emerge from the Ajax academy. Gravenberch, 19, has established himself as a regular in midfield for the Eredivise giants and he has made eight appearances for the senior Netherlands team this year.
2021 Kopa Trophy nominees
- Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
- Pedri (Barcelona)
- Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
- Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
- Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)
- Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
- Jeremy Doku (Rennes)
- Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)
- Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
- Nuno Mendes (PSG)