We take a look at the chances of Memphis Depay, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane after the shortlist for the World Cup Young Player Award is announced.
FIFA have announced the shortlist for the 2014 World Cup Young Player Award, with only three candidates to choose from, making for slim pickings against the ten-man jamboree that is the Golden Ball award.
With James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos having been nominated for the big prize despite still qualifying for consideration in the Young Player Award, the shortlist is made up of three players from teams already eliminated from the tournament.
The sole representative of the Netherlands is Memphis Depay, the sprightly young forward who was deployed to fine effect by Louis van Gaal as he found the back of the net twice during the group stages.
France, meanwhile, have two nominees – despite Les Bleus having been eliminated in the quarter finals. Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane will both be hoping for something to add to their mantelpieces.
With the winner due to be announced after the tournament has drawn to a close, we’ve taken a look at the contenders to consider which one of them should be crowned the World Cup’s finest young talent.
Despite not being seen as a regular starter by Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal, young PSV Eindhoven forward Memphis Depay played an important role as the Oranje made it all the way to a heartbreaking semi-final penalty shoot-out against Argentina.
Depay, who has been linked with a move to follow his national team boss to Manchester United, made two decisive contributions for the Netherlands in the group stages of the tournament that saw them pick up maximum points despite a devilish draw.
He struck the long range winner against Australia in their second game, with the goal being a sweetly struck shot despite the fact that the Australia goalkeeper should’ve done much better with it, whilst he also put the finishing touches to a lightning quick Holland counter attack to seal the 2-0 win against Chile.
His pace and direct running also troubles teams in the group stages, but it is hard to argue that Depay had made enough of a decisive impact on the latter stages of the tournament to be a worthy winner of the award, despite some promising displays.