Ajax's Matthijs de Ligt named top U21 player in Europe

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold was among youngsters shortlisted for European gong

Matthias De Ligt levelled late to rescue Ajax
Image: Matthijs de Ligt has already won 13 international caps for the Netherlands

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.

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his goal
Image: Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool was among the Golden Boy finalists

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.

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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.

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