Arsenal youngster Daniel Ballard has certainly had something of a season to remember so far.
The talented 21-year-old had very little chance of playing regular football at The Emirates this season and was therefore loaned out to League One side Blackpool. That came after he impressed in the Northern Ireland senior team against Norway, complete with Erling Braut Haaland in attack.
His move to Blackpool has certainly been a hit so far. The youngster has been named man-of-the-match in both of the games he has played so far and his manager Neil Critchley was extremely impressed with his most recent performance against MK Dons this weekend.
“We don’t want to get too carried away with Dan but I think he’s been outstanding in both games and rightly man-of-the-match,” the Seasiders boss told the club’s YouTube channel.
“He played like a man out there today. Really assured (his) defending was outstanding up against good strikers, some experienced strikers. He kept them all quiet today, really pleased with Dan and he’s had a real good start to his Blackpool career.”
It is hard to believe that Ballard is already 21-years-old. It certainly feels like he has slipped through the net slightly at Arsenal, especially now he is thriving in the Football League and on the international scene.
It seems unlikely a long-term future at Arsenal is beckoning, considering his current age and lack of first-team exposure so far but there is clearly a player developing in the young lad from Stevenage.
Arsenal might need to keep closer tabs on his progress as he might just be a late bloomer capable of gatecrashing the first-team in the future.