Fifa names young player nominees
Muller, Giovani and Ayew the three candidates
By Mike Barton. Last Updated: 09/07/10 3:12pm
Muller: Favourite for award
Fifa has announced its three-man shortlist for the World Cup's best young player award for 2010.
German forward Thomas Muller, Mexico winger Giovani Dos Santos and Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew have been highlighted as the best players of their age group by Fifa's technical study group.
With the Golden Ball nominees also set to be named on Friday, the global federation has surprised some with its choices, but Muller is by far the most likely to take home the prize.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a fabulous tournament, scoring four goals, including two against England and one against Argentina, to announce himself on the international stage in stunning fashion to help his team to the semi-final stage.
Giovani has rarely displayed the ability that persuaded Tottenham to take him from Barcelona as a prodigious young talent, but the 21-year-old finally appeared to be settled on the biggest stage, delivering a string of high-energy displays for the Mexicans which has earned him recognition.
Marseille playmaker Ayew was a key member of the Black Stars' run to the quarter-finals, putting in some excellent performances as they came just one kick away from becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament before losing on penalties to Uruguay.
Muller is likely to also be in the running for the Golden Ball award but if, as expected, he takes home the young player trophy, he will become the second German in succession to win, following Lukas Podolski in 2006.