AFC Youth Player of the Year (Men) 2016: Ritsu Doan
Abu Dhabi: Japan’s Ritsu Doan has been awarded the AFC Youth Player of the Year award after a string of stunning performances at this year’s AFC U-19 Championship.
Doan, who becomes the fifth Japanese player to win the award, saw off stiff competition from Iraq’s Mohammed Dawood and Rakan Alanaze to be named Asia’s finest young star.
A series of accomplished displays on the right side of Japan’s midfield throughout the U-19 Championship in Bahrain saw the Gamba Osaka youngster - who also found the net in a 4-0 quarter-final victory over Tajikistan - pick up the competition’s Most Valuable Player award as Japan beat Saudi Arabia on penalties to win the title for the first time in their country’s history.
The talented 18-year-old, once courted by English Premier League giants Chelsea, is now expected to join coach Atsushi Uchiyama’s squad at next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, where the Japanese are set to go up against the world’s finest and Doan will look to further enhance his already impressive reputation.