The centre-back was a real positive for Nothern Ireland during their latest defeat.
Daniel Ballard is currently enjoying a successful loan spell on loan at Blackpool from Arsenal and yesterday he took the international stage by storm.
The centre-back collected his fourth cap for Northern Ireland and despite a 2-1 defeat to Austria, the youngster earned rave reviews for his performance.
Josh Magennis had given Ian Baraclough’s team the lead in the 74th minute and at that point, a defeat seemed unlikely.
Goals from Louis Schaub and Adrian Grbic ensured another disappointing result for the team who won’t be at the European Championships next summer.
Ballard joined the League One outfit on loan ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, making three appearances in Neil Critchley’s team.
Mikel Arteta has showcased a willingness to play youth at Arsenal and Ballard will be keen to impress out on loan.
Yesterday he shone despite the defeat and in the process drew praise from the Belfast Telegraph.
They awarded him a 9/10 and wrote in their player ratings piece: “Some big tackles and impressive defending. Classy performance and a player showing plenty of promise. The new Jonny Evans?”
TBR View – Ballard will hope to impress Arsenal and earn a first-team shot
Shining on the international stage certainly won’t do the youngster’s hopes of impressing Arteta any harm.
At 21 he perhaps doesn’t have lots of time on his side but if he continues to improve it won’t be impossible to break into the team.
Leicester ace Jonny Evans is a hero to Northern Ireland supporters and emulating him would be no mean feat.
He won 84 caps for his country and has enjoyed a long-standing career in the Premier League.
Ballard is comfortable in possession, strong in the tackle and is learning with each appearance in men’s football.
If he can continue to impress on loan and on the international stage, an Arsenal chance will surely be forthcoming.
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