Thirteen Manchester United players have been nominated for the Golden Boy award since 2008. We thought we’d check in on what they are each up to these days.
The award was established in 2003 by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, the award sees journalists from 12 different publications vote on the youngster they deemed to have been the “most impressive” throughout any calendar year.
Three United players have won the award so far and plenty of others have been nominated throughout the years. We’ve checked in on the last 13 United youngsters who received a nomination for the prestigious award.
After an impressive eye-catching year with Atalanta, Hojlund has made the 20-man shortlist for the 2023 award. It’s still early days in his United career, but the early signs have been very promising.
The 20-year-old has especially impressed in the Champions League as he has scored three goals in his first two European matches. The sky is the limit for Hojlund.
"Maybe there's a new Scandinavian in Manchester who's going to make headlines!" 📰👀
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) October 3, 2023
Greenwood was a two-time nominee for the Golden Boy award, receiving nominations in 2021 and 2020. The 22-year-old is currently out on loan with Getafe.
The Portuguese full-back was widely regarded as one of the most promising full-backs in Europe when United snatched him up in 2018. Shortly after his move to Old Trafford, Dalot was nominated for the 2018 award, but he lost out to Matthijs de Ligt.
“Diogo is an extremely talented young defender with all the qualities to quickly become a great player for this club,” Jose Mourinho told the club website upon United landing Dalot’s signature.
The 24-year-old has had a solid career at Old Trafford since his Golden Boy nomination, albeit he’s not quite reached the world-class levels that some had predicted.
The United forward received consecutive nominations for the award in 2016 and 2017. Despite never getting his hands on the prize, Rashford has had a significant impact at Old Trafford since making his debut in 2016.
At just 25 years old, Rashford has already racked up 369 appearances for the club and has scored 124 goals. He’s also been a regular in the England setup since 2016 and he still has plenty of good years ahead of him yet.
The French forward was seriously hot property back in 2015. Shortly after making his £36million move from Monaco to Old Trafford, Martial was crowned the winner of the 2015 award.
His start to life in Manchester was absolutely electric too. After a superb debut goal against Liverpool, the hype levels quickly went into overdrive.
Martial still plays for United to this day, but he never quite managed to reach the levels that many had predicted. A return of 124 goals in 369 games is by no means disastrous, but not as spectacular as many had predicted.
— Devils Latest (@Devils_Latest) June 19, 2016
The England international lost out to Martial in the 2015 award and he was also nominated in 2014. Shaw has racked up over 250 appearances for United since joining the club back in 2014–15 as a teenager.
He’s certainly had his ups and downs in a United shirt, but Shaw has always managed to come through the tough patches as a better player. Now considered a crucial player under Erik ten Hag, Shaw is undoubtedly one of the best full-backs in Europe.
David Moyes didn’t get much right during his time at Old Trafford, but he did play a key role in Januzaj’s development. The tricky winger had his best season at United under the Scottish boss and the expectation levels were sky-high for him at the time.
Januzaj was nominated for the Golden Boy award in consecutive years in 2013 and 2014, but he soon fell down the United pecking order under Louis van Gaal after a bright start.
Despite not making it at Old Trafford, Januzaj has found success elsewhere in Europe. His best spell came with Real Sociedad between 2017-2022 and he now turns out for Sevilla.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 17, 2021
Jones has been out of the limelight for some time now and despite all of the memes that have followed him in his later career, he was a hell of an upcoming talent back in 2011.
“Jones, arguably, the way he is looking, could be our best ever player,” Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters back in 2013. His career didn’t quite pan out that way, but he was a solid performer across multiple seasons.
The defender has been plagued by injuries in his later career and now seems keen on heading into coaching. The 31-year-old recently took up a role at United as a youth team coach.
United splashed around £8million on Bebe in 2010 as the Portuguese winger was seen as the next big thing. However, despite a fairly promising start and Golden Boy nomination, things quickly went down the pan.
“I never took Manchester United seriously and never understood a word about what Alex Ferguson was saying,” Bebe told Maisfutebol in 2013.”I thought, “I’m here, I’m doing well and I don’t have to try hard every day. It was my fault. I was messing around too much.”
These days you can catch him playing for La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano.
Given the electric start Macheda had in a United shirt, it’s easy to see why the hype surrounding him was so vast. The Italian youngster scored two goals in his first two appearances and received a Golden Boy nomination on the back of his prolific start.
However, despite some early signs of promise, it soon became clear that Macheda didn’t quite have what it takes to make it at Old Trafford. The 32-year-old has had a journeyman career since leaving United and now plays for Ankaragucu in Turkey.
The Brazilian full-back received back-to-back nominations for the Golden Boy award in 2009 and 2010. Despite not getting his hands on the award, he enjoyed a successful career at Old Trafford.
Rafael made 170 appearances for the club across his seven seasons and got his hands on eight trophies, including three Premier League titles. These days he’s back in Brazil, playing for Botafogo.
After coming through the United academy, Welbeck made his senior debut in 2008 and was nominated for the Golden Boy award just one year later.
Ferguson clearly rated Welbeck as a youngster as the Scottish boss regularly praised the forward for his versatility and work ethic. Welbeck has never been the most prolific of forwards, but his footballing intelligence has never been in doubt.
The forward won six trophies during his spell with United and scored 29 goals in 142 outings. Aged 32, he’s still going strong for Brighton in the Premier League to this day.
The Brazilian midfielder was highly regarded as a teenager and he was quickly tipped to be the natural replacement for an ageing Paul Scholes at Old Trafford.
Following his promising start in England, Anderson managed to win the 2008 Golden Boy award and the hype levels quickly went into overdrive. In the end, he didn’t prove to be the natural heir to Scholes’ throne, but he still managed to nail down cult hero status at the club.