Will Grigg receives as many votes as Paul Pogba in search for Europe’s best player

Northern Ireland Training - EURO 2016

Northern Ireland’s Will Grigg was one of 37 players nominated for Uefa’s Best Player in Europe Award, with the Wigan striker receiving as many votes as the Manchester United target Paul Pogba and more than the Bundesliga’s top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Grigg, who did not play a single minute for his country at Euro 2016 became one of the names of the tournament after the 1996 song Freed From Desire was adapted in his honour. Will Grigg’s On Fire reached No6 in the iTunes chart.

However, that and the 24-year-old’s 25 goals for Wigan in League One were not quite enough for him to be included on the 10-man shortlist for the prize, which is voted for by journalists from each of Uefa’s 55 member associations.

Gareth Bale is one of four players from the European champions Real Madrid to make the cut, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Toni Kroos. The Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Antoine Griezmann of Atlético Madrid and France, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez are joined by Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich on the list, which features no players from the Premier League.

The Leicester duo Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy just missed out, with West Ham’s Dimitri Payet in 13th position.

The list will be whittled down to three players at the start of August, with Uefa’s jury to decide on the eventual winner during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on 25 August.

Last year’s winner Messi will be hoping to collect his third award after claiming the inaugural prize in 2011.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Guardian sport, for The Guardian on Monday 18th July 2016 10.45 Europe/London

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