Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Højlund have been shortlisted for this year’s Golden Boy Award.
The Manchester United duo join esteemed names such as Jude Bellingham, Jamal Musiala and Gavi on the list of nominees.
The Golden Boy award recognises the best player under the age of 21 in European football over the past twelve months. It is voted for by sports journalists across the continent, with the winner being declared in November.
The award was created in 2003 and only two United players have won it in this time; Wayne Rooney in 2004 and Anthony Martial in 2015. The current United youngsters will be hoping this will change come the end of the year.
Garnacho enjoyed a breakout season last term. Five goals and five assists represent an impressive return for an 18-year old (Garnacho turned 19 in the summer), who often featured from the bench.
Such was Erik ten Hag’s faith in the winger he selected Garancho to start at the beginning of the season, ahead of more established options.
Garnacho’s talents were also recognised at international level. He made his senior debut for Argentina in June and has kept his place in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier.
It was a similar trajectory for Højlund last year.
The Danish striker was plying his trade for Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga in the summer of 2022. By the summer of 2023 he was Manchester United’s star signing and the club’s first-choice striker, signed via Atalanta in a deal worth £72 million.
Højlund joined Atalanta from Sturm Graz for the 2022/23 season, scoring sixteen goals in the process.
Internationally, Højlund was even more prolific. Six goals in six matches for Denmark place him joint first for top goal scorers in the EURO 2024 Qualifiers.
Though neither player is expected to win the award, the mere fact they have been nominated demonstrates their prodigious talents.
Both Højlund and Garnacho are expected to play promiment roles in Ten Hag’s squad this season, underscoring the mantra of Sir Matt Busby: if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.