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Gareth McAuley urges Arteta to bring Daniel Ballard back to Arsenal

Gareth McAuley has told The Belfast Telegraph that Mikel Arteta should recall Daniel Ballard, insisting that the Arsenal loanee is getting better and better with every game he plays.

Ballard is making a major impression for club and country right now. The 21-year-old joined Millwall on loan in the summer.

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And he was lauded by many after the Lions’ 1-1 draw with West Brom at the weekend. It was his goal that helped the visitors to a point at the Hawthorns.

His performance prompted plenty of Millwall fans to express their hope that there may be scope for a permanent deal further down the line.

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But McAuley believes that the Gunners should not let Ballard leave the Emirates permanently. In fact, he has suggested that they should bring his countryman back at the next available opportunity.

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“If I were Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, I’d be recalling Daniel Ballard from his loan spell at Millwall and placing the young Northern Ireland international in my struggling Gunners team,” he told The Belfast Telegraph.

“I know Daniel isn’t Mikel’s type of defender — he probably doesn’t match his philosophy in how he wants the game to be played — but maybe he should be with the way Arsenal have started their season.

“Daniel just keeps on getting better and better with every game he plays in, especially on the international scene.”

Arsenal must continue to keep Ballard on radar, but Emirates return would be poor move

Ballard’s stock is high. As McAuley notes, he has won a lot of plaudits for his performances for Northern Ireland.

And he went into this campaign off the back of a brilliant loan spell at Blackpool. He helped the club to promotion to the Championship.

But recalling him would surely be hasty. Loan players often start spells well before going off the boil. So Ballard arguably has plenty to prove at the Den.

It would also make more sense to look at a loan higher up the Championship, or perhaps even in the Premier League next year.

The early signs hint that he is handling the step up well this season. But the jump to the Arsenal first-team is a lot more significant than from Blackpool to Millwall.

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