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Four Nigerian youngsters make European Golden Boy top 40 list

FOUR Nigerian players born in Europe are in the running for the European Golden Boy award.

The Golden Boy is an award started by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in 2003.

It is given by sports journalists to an U-21 footballer playing in one of Europe’s top flights perceived to have been the most impressive during a calendar year.

Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka, born to Nigerian parents but playing international football for England, is one the four players with Nigerian blood in the top 40 for the award.

Saka has been on the rise in the past two years, and he was a key member of the England squad to the European Championship in July.

PSV Eindhoven forward Noni Madueke is also on the shortlist.

The 19-year-old was born in England to a Nigerian father but has made his breakthrough in the Netherlands with PSV, whom he has played 12 times for this season and scored six goals.

Madueke has also opted to represent England and has played for them at U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-21 levels.

Another player with Nigerian heritage in the shortlist is Jamal Musiala, who has featured for Germany at senior international level.

The 18-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder was born in Stuttgart but he played for England at youth level.

He however made his senior Germany debut in March 2021 and already has eight caps for them.

Musiala has scored four goals in seven appearances for Bayern Munich this season.

Like Musiala, Karim Adeyemi also has Nigerian heritage and is playing senior international football for Germany.

The 19-year-old striker
was born in Munich to a Nigerian father and made his senior Germany debut in a 2022 World Cup qualifier against Armenia on 5 September, scoring in the 6-0 win.

Adeyemi plays for RB Salzburg and has scored six goals in seven Austrian Bundesliga games this season, seven goals in 11 matches in all competitions.

Some of the prominent young players in the top 40 of the Golden Boy include Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, Barcelona’s Pedri, Real Madrid’s Edouard Camavinga and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.

Past winners of the award include Lionel Messi (2005), Wayne Rooney (2004), Cesc Fabregas (2006), Paul Pogba (2013) and Kylian Mbappe (2017).

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