Calhanoglu, Sterling and Berardi included on 2014 Golden Boy shortlist

The trio have been included on a 40 strong list of candidates who have been nominated for the award, with past winners including Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero

Bayer Leverkusen youngster Hakan Calhanoglu, Liverpool star Raheem Sterling and Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi are among the names on a 40-man shortlist for the 2014 Golden Boy award.

The award recognises footballers under the age of 21 who are bursting with talent, with many on the list having enjoyed breakthrough years that have seen them make decisive contributions for their clubs.

Calhanoglu’s excellent performances for Hamburg saw him earn a summer move to Leverkusen in the summer, while Sterling has made a great contribution to his side’s excellent year and has also been heavily involved for England.

Berardi has been in fine form since kicking of 2014 with a magnificent showing in their 4-3 win over AC Milan the highlight. The forward has started the current campaign well, too, having scored two and set up two in four league games.

Paris Saint-Germain youngster Adrien Rabiot, Juventus’ Kingsley Coman, Sevilla’s Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu and PSV’s Jetro Willems are all included in the strong list of candidates for the accolade.

The award, established by Tuttosport in 2003 and voted for by journalists at major newspapers across Europe, is handed to the player under the age of 21 who is deemed to have been the most outstanding performer over the calendar year.

Previous recipients include Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas and Mario Balotelli. Last year’s winner was Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

THE LIST IN FULL: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Franco Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Bruma (Galatasaray), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen), Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Kingsley Coman (Juventus), Gerard Deulofeu (Sevilla), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Gianluca Gaudino (Bayern Munich), Mathias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Derlis Gonzalez (Basel), Julian Green (Hamburg), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Keita Balde Diao (Lazio), Mateo Kovacic (Inter), Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao), Lazar Markovic (Liverpool), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Marseille), Maximilian Meyer (Schalke), Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax), Aleksandr Mitrovic (Anderlecht), Munir El Haddai (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Nikola Ninkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Lucas Ocampos (Monaco), Divock Origi (Lille), Denis Praet (Anderlecht), Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain), Sandro Ramirez (Barcelona), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Oliver Torres (Porto), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Jetro Willems (PSV), Luka Zahovic (Maribor), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

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