Manchester United academy graduate Marcus Rashford has edged out prolific Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus for a top-three spot in the final 2017 Golden Boy rankings, with Paris Saint-Germain's teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe claiming the latest edition of the prestigious award as expected.
Rashford finished as the runner-up to Euro 2016 winner Renato Sanches for last year's honour, which is run by Turin-based Italian sport newspaper Tuttosport and sees journalists from major publications across Europe vote to crown the most impressive top-tier player aged under 21 in a single calendar year.
This time around he joined Liverpool duo Joe Gomez and Dominic Solanke, versatile Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kyle Walker-Peters and West Ham United's Borussia Monchengladbach loanee Reece Oxford on a 25-man shortlist that boasted a six-strong English contingent.
Rashford eventually finished third behind former AS Monaco prodigy Mbappe and injured Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, who reportedly received 291 and 149 votes respectively.
The final positioning of Rashford and Jesus has been subject to plenty of confusion, with the former seemingly garnering four more votes - 76 to 72 - and claiming third place despite the fact that it was revealed over the weekend that it was actually his City counterpart who had joined Mbappe and Dembele on the final three-man shortlist.
It was even reported in some quarters that Rashford had finished second ahead of both Dembele and Jesus, although Tuttosport's official website has the Manchester United striker third.
Rashford scored seven goals during the second half of last season as United claimed three trophies during their first year under Jose Mourinho and has notched eight times in 18 appearances for club and country so far this term, including a fortuitous free-kick winner in the Champions League win over Benfica and a second-half header in Saturday's (21 October) shock 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town.
Jesus, meanwhile, has made a significant impact at City since finally arriving at the Etihad Stadium in January six months after completing a £27m ($35.5m) move from Palmeiras. The Brazilian frontman netted seven times during the final months of 2016-17 after recovering from a fractured metatarsal and has managed eight in 12 outings across all competitions to date this season.
The 20-year-old, whose first 11 senior international caps for Brazil have yielded six goals, was benched by Pep Guardiola in favour of the returning Sergio Aguero for the weekend defeat of Burnley that saw free-scoring City increase their advantage at the Premier League summit to five points.
AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma came fifth in the Golden Boy voting, with talented Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic - who will miss next summer's World Cup after the USA inexplicably failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1986 - sixth and Ajax's Danish forward Kasper Dolberg seventh.
Eighth place was filled by Celta Vigo attacker Emre Mor, who finished in front of Serie A starlet Federico Chiesa of Fiorentina. The top 10 was rounded off by Uruguayan international Rodrigo Bentancur, the former Boca Juniors midfielder who left Argentina for Juventus over the summer.
Previous winners of the award include Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Anthony Martial.