'Fast': International defender says he asked 'fabulous' Arsenal loanee to 'take it easy' on him last weekend
Two Arsenal loanees, Daniel Ballard and Folarin Balogun, faced each other in the Championship last weekend and the former has shed some light on their conversation during the game.
Balogun is one of the Gunners’ most popular loanees at the moment. He is viewed by everyone at the club as the next big thing at Arsenal, and although he hasn’t quite set the stage on fire on loan at Middlesbrough just yet, his potential is massive.
Ballard isn’t quite as popular as someone like Balogun, but he’s one player every Arsenal fan should keep an eye on. A central defender by trade currently on loan at Millwall, the 22-year-old is already a full Northern Ireland international.
He really does have a bright future ahead of him but on Saturday, he didn’t quite fancy having to deal with Balogun, a player he has trained with a lot at Arsenal in the past.
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Daniel Ballard: I told Folarin Balogun to go easy on me
Speaking about facing Balogun in the 0-0 draw at the weekend, Ballard told News At Den today: “Yeah (I like talking to my opponents), especially with someone like that (Balogun).
“I was just saying to Flo to take it easy, really, not to put it through my legs and into the top corner!
“I’ve obviously trained against him for years so it was a little bit strange playing in a real match against him. You can see his quality and how fast he is, he’s a really good player.
“I quite enjoyed playing against him, I thought it went well.”
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Ballard has had a difficult time with injury at Millwall this season. He missed over two months of football between December and February, and the Lions only kept four clean sheets in 11 Championship games in that period.
The young Arsenal defender has made four appearances since his return and Millwall haven’t conceded a goal in any of those games. That shows you the impact Ballard has had and it’s only a matter of time before he catches Mikel Arteta’s eye.
Balogun, on the other hand, is someone Arteta knows very well. He has featured for Arsenal’s first team already and many at the club believe that the youngster can become a prolific goalscorer for them in the years to come.
A goal and two assists in 13 appearances isn’t the greatest record for a forward, but his work rate has been terrific, so much so, that his boss Chris Wilder has labelled him as ‘fabulous‘.
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