Super Eagles and Villarreal winger, Samuel Chukwueze as well as his compatriot Tom Dele-Bashiru, have been shut out of the 2019 Golden Boy Award for the best Under-21 player in Europe as organisers on Tuesday reduced the number of entries from 40 to 20.
The 20-year-old Villarreal forward who was on the original shortlist of 40 along with Flying Eagles midfielder Dele-Bashiru, will have to do more to reach that height in the future.
Italian newspaper, Tuttosport, has handed out the award to the most promising player under 21 years of age in Europe since 2003, with previous winners including Kylian Mbappe (2017), Anthony Martial (2015), Paul Pogba (2013) and Wayne Rooney (2004).
Meanwhile, some of the English Premier League’s brightest young talents made the cut.
Chelsea’s rising star Mason Mount, Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi, Everton’s Moise Kean and Man City wonder kid Phil Foden all stay in pursuit of the coveted prize as Italian newspaper Tuttosport chops down its list of the top young players to the remaining 20.
Barcelona’s 16-year-old sensation Ansu Fati could well be odds-on to pick up the award following his stunning rise to the first team at Camp Nou, though he faces competition from Real Madrid duo Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr.
The winner is determined by an international online vote and will be announced in Turin on December 16.