Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling has won the prestigious European Golden Boy award for 2014.The award is given to the best young player in world football and was originally established by Italian newspaper Tuttosport and is voted for by a number of top publications from across the game.
All players under the age of 21 are eligible and a 40-man shortlist was initially revealed, featuring Liverpool teammate Lazar Markovic and on-loan striker Divock Origi.
Sterling, 20, has shone under Brendan Rodgers at Anfield and was a key part of the Reds team that finished second in the Premier League in May, while he travelled to the World Cup with England over the summer.
“It’s a great achievement to win such an award,” Sterling told “It’s a really happy feeling for me and my family, of course.
“Something I’ve always wanted to do is to work hard playing football and try to be recognised. I’m really grateful that people have shown me this recognition.
“It’s down to hard work. I’m really happy that people are recognising that I’m trying to work hard and do my best for this football club. I’m really grateful for this award.”
Sterling is the first Liverpool player to win the award and becomes the second Englishman after Wayne Rooney in 2004. Previous winners of the Golden Boy trophy include Argentina and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Man City star Sergio Aguero, his Liverpool teammate Mario Balotelli and last year’s winner, France and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
“There’s always room for improvement. At this moment in time, I should have a few more goals, but I’ve not taken some of my chances. But I’m young and learning all the time,” Sterling added.
“This award just shows that hard work gets you where you want to be, and that I’m on the right track for where I want to be in my career. Hopefully I can just keep working hard and try to take my game to the next level.”