Billy Gilmour and Aaron Hickey among 2021 Golden Boy award nominees

Scotland and Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour and Bologna’s former Hearts defender Aaron Hickey have both been nominated for the prestigious Golden Boy award.

Billy Gilmour warms up before Scotlan's Euro 2020 match against Czech Republic
Billy Gilmour warms up before Scotlan's Euro 2020 match against Czech Republic

A total of 100 young players have been nominated for the prize which has been won in previous years by the like of Erling Braut Haaland, Kylian Mbappé, and Raheem Sterling.

Football fans around the world vote for the shortlist but a panel of journalists ultimately makes the decision on who wins the award.

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The list will be reduced by 20 names each month until a final 20-player shortlist is finalised, with the winner announced at the end of the year.

Aaron Hickey gets to grips with veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella during a Serie A match between Bologna and Sampdoria

The player crowned Golden Boy is the young footballer playing in Europe deemed to have been the most impressive during a calendar year i.e. two halves to two separate seasons.

Rules stipulate that nominees must be under the age of 21, and be playing their football in the top division of a European nation – such as the English Premier League, Ligue 1, or Serie A.

Gilmour made 22 appearances for Chelsea since breaking into the Stamford Bridge first team and has Champions League experience. Hickey, meanwhile, has made 12 appearances for Serie A side Bologna since making the move from Hearts in September 2020.

Other nominees include Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Amad Diallo; Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun of Arsenal; Fabio Silva of Wolves, and Liverpool’s Curtis Jones.

Haaland won the award last year with João Félix scooping the prize in 2019. Matthijs de Ligt, then of Ajax, took the title in 2018 while Mbappé was the winner in 2017.

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