Malta international striker Hayley Bugeja was listed among the best players aged 21 and under in a selection conducted by ESPN on Thursday.
Bugeja, who is on the books of Sassuolo, has for the past two years been touted as one of the most promising talents in European football and she has again made the list selected by ESPN Editor Kathleen McNamee and journalist Sophie Lawson.
The Sassuolo striker was ranked 15th in the list.
“At 16, Bugeja signed for Sassuolo, but the then-unknown forward stamped her authority on her debut Serie A game against Napoli, scoring twice – including a dizzying solo effort in which she wormed her way around four defenders before unleashing a shot with her weaker foot,” the report described Bugeja.
“Far from just a flash in the pan, the young Maltese attacker went on to notch 12 goals in her first season, establishing herself as a crucial part of the Sassuolo team that finished the season a whisker outside of a Champions League berth.”
In the report Lawson said that although Bugeja was hampered by injury this season, she still managed to find the back of the net only three times.
“However, when fit, she has greatly improved her assist rate and has displayed excellent dribbling abilities with both feet,” Lawson wrote.
“The emergence of Bugeja has revitalised the diminutive European nation of Malta (ranked No. 94 in the world) and with her help, they have managed to show a more competitive edge in international competition.”
United States young sensation Trinity Rodman, the daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, topped the list ahead Manchester City forward Laurent Hemp and Lena Oberdorf, who is on the books of Wolfsburg.
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