Daniel Ballard made another couple of appearances for the Northern Ireland national team over the international break, including one at right-back.
Arsenal academy defender Daniel Ballard is on loan with Blackpool this season, where things are generally going very well. Blackpool are up into the play-off places, and Ballard has started the last eight consecutive club games he was available for.
The 21-year-old had to miss the last couple of Blackpool games, however, so he could join up with Northern Ireland over the international break.
After a friendly appearance against the USA in a 2-1 defeat (for which he was widely praised), Ballard made the starting lineup for a competitive fixture against Bulgaria on Wednesday. But interestingly, the centre-back was named at right-back for the side.
With Craig Cathcart and Jonny Evans as the centre-back pairing on the day and Jamal Lewis on the left, right-back was Ballard’s only way into the starting lineup.
It all seemed to go pretty well. Ballard made a clearance, a tackle, and an interception without being dribbled past, and he did enough in possession to complete 80% of his passes and create one chance.
Given it’s not his natural position, helping to keep a clean sheet for the 74 minutes he was on the pitch was a positive for Ballard, even though it was overshadowed by their disappointment not to score on the day.
— Daniel Ballard (@dg_ballard) April 1, 2021
It looks like Ballard is set to be a regular fixture in the Northern Ireland squads from now on, regardless of exactly where in the defence he’s playing.