Arsenal have a bunch of top-quality youngsters coming through the ranks. Some have been fortunate enough to get a chance under Mikel Arteta, while others are yet to make their senior debuts.
One such player is Daniel Ballard.
The 21-year-old is currently on loan at Blackpool where he’s having a fantastic season. He has been lauded for his performances there and he is now making his name on the international stage as well.
Ballard started for Northern Ireland against the USA yesterday. He had a solid game overall, but a challenge inside the box forced the referee to give a penalty – even though the Arsenal man clearly got something on the ball.
Christian Pulisic scored from the spot and that turned out to be the winner. Despite conceding that penalty, Ballard was lauded by the national media for his solid performance against the United States last night.
The Belfast Telegraph rated him 8/10 and wrote: “Unlucky with the penalty as he got a touch on the ball. Continues to show his class and promise at this level. Huge talent.”
The Insider’s View:
There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that Ballard is an incredible talent. At just 21 years of age, his performances in the heart of the defence – for both club and country – have been phenomenal over the last few months.
Ballard is yet to play for Arsenal’s senior squad, but he is doing all the right things. He will return to London Colney at the end of this season and Arteta will get a chance to have a closer look at him.
However, it is unlikely that he will get a first-team opportunity straight away. He may well be sent out on loan again – this time to a much bigger club than Blackpool where he will have to show his real worth to stake a claim at Arsenal in the coming years.