Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard has made an early return to full training with Millwall, though his manager is still urging caution.

West Bromwich Albion v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship - The Hawthorns Millwall s Daniel Ballard celebrates scoring his side s first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture date: Saturday September 11, 2021. Copyright: David Davies
West Bromwich Albion v Millwall – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns Millwall’s Daniel Ballard celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture date: Saturday, September 11, 2021. Copyright: David Davies

London News Online report that Daniel Ballard is back in full training with Millwall after his injury, completing his first full session on Thursday.

Millwall boss Gary Rowett seemed pleased to have the Arsenal loan defender so close to a return, though he suggested it will be a slow process for Ballard and some of their other injury absentees.

“Dan was doing really well and performing fabulously in the Championship,” Rowett said. “It will be great to get him back out there and back in the mix.

“He feels good and has been coming to some of our games. He is desperate to get back in there.

“[But] we can’t just chuck them into 90 minutes of football and expect them to perform at the level they need to.

“We still need to modify some of their game time and get through a little bit of training. Hopefully, on the back of that, they will be back involved and with a chance of starting games.”

Millwall v Fulham - Daniel Ballard of Millwall during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Den, London. Copyright: Brian Tonks
Millwall v Fulham – Daniel Ballard of Millwall during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Den, London. Copyright: Brian Tonks

When Millwall initially reported the news of Ballard’s knee surgery, they wrote that he would be out of action until March. From that point of view, having him back training already is a big boost.

Ballard had played more minutes than any other Arsenal player (loan or otherwise) before the injury, making 21 appearances for Millwall in all competitions.

He’d also made four appearances for Northern Ireland on international duty over the same period.

The only other serious injury of the centre-back’s career was another knee issue with Swindon Town that required surgery and an absence of over six months.

This time around it clearly wasn’t as serious, but the injury still required surgery and a lengthy recovery.

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