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'Outstanding', 'plays like a man': Manager raves about Arsenal-owned player after two MOTM displays

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Blackpool boss Neil Critchley has been signing praises of Arsenal’s Daniel Ballard after his incredible start to life on loan.

The tough-tackling young defender joined the Seasiders on a six-month loan deal on transfer deadline day. He has played twice for Blackpool so far in League One and has won the ‘Man of the Match’ award in both games.

Critchley seems to be a big fan of the 21-year-old already. The Blackpool boss has raved about the young Arsenal defender, calling his performances ‘outstanding’ and ‘nearly faultless’ after just two games.

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Blackpool boss is in awe of Ballard

He told The Blackpool Gazette: “I don’t want to get too carried away with him because I don’t want to put a spell on him or anything. But he’s been outstanding in the two games he’s played and I thought he was nearly faultless defensively on Saturday. He has an assurance, he plays like a man and he defends well, competes well. I thought he was terrific.”

Ballard is an exceptional talent. The youngster, still only 21, has a bright future ahead of him, but his progress was hampered by an injury last season. The Northern Irish defender was sent on loan to Swindon Town at the start of last term, but he had to undergo knee surgery after just three appearances.

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After a long spell on the sidelines, Ballard is now back to his best. His current loan deal will expire at the end of January, but if Critchley’s words are anything to go by, he would be open to re-signing him for the remainder of this season.

Arsenal have way too many central defenders at the moment. Ballard still has a long way to go before he can make it to the senior squad, but if he continues to impress out on loan, Mikel Arteta will notice him sooner rather than later.

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