The individual accolade, first introduced by Italian Newspaper Tuttosport back in 2003, is awarded each year to the continent’s most impressive player under the age of 21, with the decision process including a lengthy shortlist and a voting system involving 30 independent publications. Previous winners include Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero.
The attacking midfielder earned the award for his vital role in Liverpool’s Premier League title bid last season and emergence at the heart of the England national team since the turn of the year, making him the first British winner since Wayne Rooney in 2004
Stelling told Liverpool’s official website this morning; ” It’s a great achievement to win such an award, 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.
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.
“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.”
Liverpool take on Arsenal at Anfield tomorrow afternoon, with the 20 year-old expected to feature as an unorthodox centre-forward.