Daniel Ballard put in an impressive performance for Northern Ireland on Wednesday night, despite losing to a strong Norway side.
With young stars like Martin Odegaard and Erling Braut Haaland joining established players like Joshua King, Sander Berge and Mohamed Elyounoussi in the Norway lineup on Wednesday, Daniel Ballard had his work cut out in defence for Northern Ireland.
This is a 21-year-old centre-back with three senior club appearances, all for Swindon Town. Yet he’s starting to become a regular in his country’s international matches, making the squad for the last five games and starting in three of them.
This was perhaps the best performance yet from Ballard. He made nine clearances, one interception and two tackles, without being dribbled past once. He won nine of his eleven individual duels and earned three free-kicks without making a single foul.
On the ball, the on-loan Arsenal defender completed 84% of his passes and 60% of his long balls. Overall, a top display.
He was excellent. Alongside Jonny Evans in 1st half but continued to play very well alongside Flanagan from Sunderland…a very inexperienced defence, in 2nd. Haaland, King and Sorloth played for Norway. Dan showed composure on the ball and good passing too.
— andrew walker (@andrew_ni1991) October 14, 2020
Im Norwegian and he did pretty well. Kept Haaland quiet and grew into the game. Promising 👍🏾
— Vscobare (@VVscobare) October 14, 2020
Same! Looking forward what he can do for us
— Daniel · (@blackpoolfc04) October 14, 2020
Ballard will now return to Blackpool to make his debut. He’ll get his first opportunity to do so on Saturday against Crewe Alexandra.