Chelsea duo shortlisted for European Golden Boy award

The award will do to the player with the best bear impression. Courtois is a lock. - Scott Heavey

It's apparently award season in UEFAland, and the shortlist for the European Golden Boy award has been released. This award is designed to honour the best player in Europe under the age of 21, presumably so that someone other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can have a happy little moment when the hardware is passed out. Anyway, it's a trifling thing that I only care about because a couple of Chelsea players are on the shortlist and I like to imagine them being happy.

Said pair consists of Thibaut Courtois and for reasons that are not yet entirely clear to me, Milan Lalkovic. I was told yesterday that Lalkovic was on the shortlist for a youngg players award, and immediately assumed that it was for young players from Vitoria Guimaraes. Instead, it's for the whole of Europe, which is... well, it's something. The full list is not a whole lot better:

David Alaba - Bayern Munich
Jano Ananidze - Spartak Moscow
Christian Atsu - FC Porto
Jean-Christophe Bahebeck - Troyes
Joel Campbell - Real Betis
Luc Castaignos - FC Twente
Thibaut Courtois - Atletico Madrid
Philippe Coutinho - Inter
Gerard Deulofeu - Barcelona
Julian Draxler - Schalke
Dudu - Dynamo Kyiv
Stephan El Shaarawy - AC Milan
Christian Eriksen - Ajax
Mario Gotze - Borussia Dortmund
John Guidetti - Manchester City
Isco - Malaga
Jese - Real Madrid
Ola John - Benfica
Vaclav Kadlec - Sparta Prague
Koke - Atletico Madrid
Mateo Kovacic - Dinamo Zagreb
Milan Lalkovic - Vitoria Guimaraes
Erik Lamela - Roma
Jurgen Locadia - PSV Eindhoven
Samuele Longo - Espanyol
Lazar Markovic - Partizan Belgrade
Bruno Martins Indi - Feyenoord
Iker Muniain - Athletic Bilbao
Ahmed Musa - CSKA Moscow
Pedro Obiang - Sampdoria
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - Arsenal
Magomed Ozdoev - Lokomotiv Moscow
Paul Pogba - Juventus
Mohamed Salah - Basel
Jonjo Shelvey - Liverpool
Raheem Sterling - Liverpool
Raphael Varane - Real Madrid
Marco Verratti - Paris Saint-Germain
Granit Xhaka - Borussia Monchengladbach

I count about a dozen of those 39 that I'd consider reasonable winners, and among them is Courtois. Unlike Lalkovic, he's actually got a decent (but outside) chance of taking home the award. The goalkeeper faces stiff competition, however -- the likes of David Alaba, Iker Munaian and Stephan El-Shaarawy are at least comparable talents to the 20-year-old.

And no, I have no idea why Romelu Lukaku isn't on the list.

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