Arsenal defender and Blackpool loanee Daniel Ballard put in another strong individual display to cap off the November international break on Wednesday.
Fresh off the back of a Man of the Match display against Austria, earning him comparisons to Northern Ireland hero Jonny Evans, Arsenal youth defender Daniel Ballard made another start for his country against Romania in midweek.
The 21-year-old was instrumental in Northern Ireland’s defensive efforts, making four clearances, four interceptions, one tackle and blocking one shot, without being dribbled past once. He also showed his worth in possession, completing 83% of his passes.
Once again, the Northern Ireland social media accounts were raving about him. On Twitter, they called him an “absolute beast at the back”. None of the fans in the replies gave any reason to disagree.
Ballard will now return to loan club Blackpool, where he’s just finished serving a red-card suspension.
Though the sending off was certainly a disappointing moment, with an elbow catching an opponent in the face during an aerial duel, it was an anomaly in a fantastic start for the centre-back with the League One side.
The Blackpool fans are just as excited about the player as the Northern Ireland supporters right now, so that one mistake didn’t harm his reputation with them. He’s already won two Man of the Match awards in three games.
Next up, Blackpool and Ballard face Peterborough away on Saturday at 15:00 GMT.