Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard enjoyed an impressive debut in difficult circumstances for Blackpool last night.
Earlier this month, the Gunners academy ace joined the third-tier side on a loan deal until January.
Named on the bench for the home clash with Charlton, Ballard came on after just four minutes, a tactical change after James Husband was sent off right at the start of the game.
Despite the baptism of fire, the 21-year-old shone for the Seasiders with a calm and composed display, even winning the club’s Man of the Match award on the night.
Sadly, Ballard couldn’t prevent his side from losing, Chuks Aneke scoring a header winner seven minutes from time.
The result was the Lancashire side’s fifth defeat in just seven league games, leaving them in the bottom four of League One.
Despite the doom and gloom amongst the Blackpool fanbase, many hailed Ballard for his display and were pleased to have such a talent on their hands.
Here is some of the reaction:
Mitchell 5 yards off his man. We’ve not had a shot in anger. Husband starting cb, Ballard not starting, he’s been unreal.
— Tom Mayne (@_TomMayne) October 20, 2020
Ballard has to start every game.
— Josh Foz (@BFCfoz) October 20, 2020
Didn’t deserve to lose that. Good fight after the red, but disappointing we didn’t make more of them having a man sent off too. Ballard man of the match after an exceptional debut in horrible circumstances. We need to improve big time, but equally surely our luck has to turn too? https://t.co/7zCPrr2lRF
— Eamonn Moore (@EamonnLMoore) October 20, 2020
The only positive from tonight is that Ballard looks like a great player and will get better and better
— lewishogg (@lewishogg3) October 20, 2020
I agree Ballard was our best player
— Joe McGuirk (@joemcguirk9) October 20, 2020
I Said we were short upfront and they brought in two more midfielders 🤦🏻♂️ Ballard looks a player tho. We’ve brought in a whole new squad it’s going to take time to gel and at times they look good. But the forward line and lack of chances/ goals is worrying.
— Chris Harrison (@Chrisharrison2) October 20, 2020
yes Ballard is/will be quality. This new squad which to be fair it is, doesn’t give them or Critch a free pass though but a bit more patience is needed but it’s wearing thin. As i say one win may turn it all around…
— Seasider13 (@PaulRobinson13) October 20, 2020
Ballard has excelled in the Arsenal academy, so much so that he has already gone on to represent Northern Ireland at senior level.