Daniel Ballard is back in first-team training with Arsenal after a minor injury setback, ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Aston Villa.
It’s pretty unlikely Ballard will immediately move into the first-team squad, particularly when Sokratis Papastathopoulos can’t get games at centre-back even as a senior player. However, there’s certainly a chance one of the youth players will be able to step up this week.
Ballard started the campaign on loan at Swindon Town, making three appearances. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury led to Arsenal recalling the defender to recover back in North London.
Just as the 20-year-old returned to the pitch with the u23s, the season halted due to COVID-19. Then, Ballard was one of the chosen few youth players initially joining the senior group in May. But he missed the last few weeks with a minor injury setback.
The centre-back is in training again now. Whether he makes it into the matchday 20 or not, he’s getting more invaluable experience with the first-team every day.