Ajax's Matthijs de Ligt named top U21 player in Europe
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold was among youngsters shortlisted for European gong
Last Updated: 17/12/18 9:48am
Highly-rated Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has won the 2018 Golden Boy Award, to cap a superb year for the 19-year-old.
The award is given to the most promising player under the age of 21 in Europe, and De Ligt got the nod ahead of fellow finalists Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Justin Kluivert (Roma), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) and Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan).
De Ligt has become a key figure at Ajax since making his debut in 2016 and is regularly linked with the biggest clubs in Europe.
He has already captained his club side and has established himself as a regular in the Dutch international team, teaming up with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence, and playing every minute as they reached the UEFA Nations League finals.
He has now become the first defender to win the Golden Boy award.
The award is decided by an international panel and was won last year by Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, who went on to play a key role as France won the World Cup in the summer.