Arsenal academy defender Daniel Ballard has been making quite a name for himself away from the Emirates Stadium on loan this season.
The 21-year-old, who’s yet to make a competitive senior appearance for the Gunners, joined Blackpool on a loan deal until the end of January.
Ballard has only made three appearances for the Seasiders due to a red card suspension – which manager Neil Critchley felt was harsh – and being on international duty with Northern Ireland.
However, he has already made a huge impact in Lancashire, with two man-of-the-match performances in his opening two games, while his exploits for his country are similarly impressive.
Ballard featured against Austria and Romania in the Nations League and, despite a defeat and a draw, the Arsenal loanee was rated 9 out of 10 in both games by the Belfast Telegraph.
Against Austria, they wrote: “Some big tackles and impressive defending. Classy performance and a player showing plenty of promise. The new Jonny Evans?”
In the following game, they said: “Worth remembering that this impressive young lad was winning only his fifth cap. Never looked under pressure.”
As things stand, Ballard is due to return to Arsenal in January, and he more than deserves a chance in the first team under Mikel Arteta as he’s certainly proving himself.
Admittedly, the Gunners could well opt to keep him out on loan, where he can keep gaining experience, but already it looks as though he could do well higher up than League One.
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