Daniel Ballard is making a name for himself at centre-back with the Arsenal and Northern Ireland youth teams, particularly when it comes to goal-line clearances.

Before this season, Ballard was a regular for the u18s, playing a key role in their run to the FA Youth Cup final. The defender made his u23 debut back in March, scoring against Tottenham, but otherwise stayed with the younger side.

Since then, Ballard’s found his way into Freddie Ljungberg’s starting XI, and he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity. He’s now on a run of seven consecutive starts, and Arsenal have only conceded one goal in their last four games with him in the backline.

They have the Northern Ireland u21 international to thank for that, as he made three goal-line clearances against Liverpool and Everton:

Not only that, but Ballard was pulling off the same trick over the international break. He cleared one off the line against the Iceland u21s, then went up the other end and scored a late winner to top it all off. Northern Ireland kept two clean sheets in two games and the Arsenal man played the full 90 minutes of both.


With Ballard in such great form and Zech Medley making the bench in the Premier League on Monday, it’s clear Arsenal aren’t only producing exciting forwards right now. Hopefully, those two can make a push for first-team chances in the coming seasons.