Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard spoke on the Fancy A Kickabout podcast about the two players he wants to emulate in the Premier League.
The young defender is currently on loan at Blackpool where he is having a very impressive season. Ballard is rated very highly by the people who’ve watched him, and he looks like he has all the qualities to succeed at the top level.
The 21-year-old has rubbed shoulders with some of the most experienced defenders in the Premier League. He wants to emulate two of them – Arsenal star David Luiz and his fellow countryman Jonny Evans.
He said: “The big one was David Luiz, just because of how he is as a character and he makes you feel welcome.
“Some of the things he does, on the ball particularly, is a lot of stuff I need to improve. It’s amazing to see the confidence and technique he has. They are the things you want to strive towards.”
On Evans, he said: “You can see how experienced, how calm and how in control he looks. It rubs off on you. I feel like sometimes I can be quite rash because I’m young while he’s been there and played a lot more games.
“I want to be more like him, I want to be calm and in control of the situation all the time. To play next to him, it calms you, it makes you feel comfortable when you hear him speaking all the time. It gives you that confidence, it rubs off on you.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
As a young defender, it is important to learn the trade from the more accomplished ones. Luiz, signed by Unai Emery in 2019, is one of the most experienced players in the Premier League and he has won it all.
Evans isn’t any different. The Leicester City star partners Ballard for Northern Ireland and there is absolutely no doubt that the young Arsenal defender is learning a lot from his senior countryman.
Still only 21, Ballard has a long way to go before he can break into the first-team. However, if he can spend more time with someone like Luiz in training, he will learn something new every single day.