Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard won another Man of the Match award on his first start for Blackpool against MK Dons on Saturday.

Daniel Ballard with Blackpool (Photo via Blackpool on Twitter)

Bizarre as it sounds, Ballard had already won a Man of the Match award with Blackpool before making his first start for the club. He came off the bench in the first few minutes against Charlton and performed well in the remainder of the match to earn the award.

He was just as impressive on his first official start, however. This time around, Blackpool faced MK Dons, and Ballard got a chance in the lineup in the absence of the suspended James Husband. It was a chance to nail down the position at this early stage of the loan.

Ballard had another busy game, making eight clearances, two tackles, and blocking two shots without committing a foul or letting anyone dribble past him. He won all four of his individual duels and completed 33 of 42 passes.

The defender is on a great run of form. As mentioned, his last appearance was that substitute showing against Charlton. Before that, he did just as well keeping Erling Haaland quiet with Northern Ireland.

Blackpool fans on social media said of Ballard’s latest display:

  • “Already by far and away our best defender.”
  • “Decent. MOTM.”
  • “Unreal, MOTM, class player.”
  • “Ballard superb.”
  • “Defence looks so much more solid with Ballard in the side.”

Next up, Blackpool travel to AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. Assuming the 21-year-old doesn’t get a rest, he’ll look to keep the run going.