Though he would like to see Arsenal loan centre-back Daniel Ballard return to Millwall next season, Gary Rowett admits it’s not likely.

LONDON, ENGLAND: Daniel Ballard of Millwall under pressure from Dominik Frieser of Barnsley during the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Barnsley at The Den on April 09, 2022. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Daniel Ballard of Millwall under pressure from Dominik Frieser of Barnsley during the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Barnsley at The Den on April 09, 2022. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

After Millwall’s failure to make it to the Championship play-offs on the final day of the season, Daniel Ballard’s loan spell came to a slightly earlier end than initially hoped.

The Arsenal loanee had picked up an injury in late April, so his only route back onto the pitch this campaign was if Millwall prolonged their season with a playoff run. As that hasn’t happened, he’ll now return to North London.

Millwall boss Gary Rowett believes Ballard has had a strong first campaign in the Championship, but he’s not expecting his side to include the defender next season.

“It’s really simple with Dan,” Rowett said. “He’s done really well. If Dan was available again we would certainly welcome him back.

“But I don’t expect he will be [coming back to Millwall] because I think Arsenal will probably seek a different type of challenge for him. It’s what those type of clubs tend to do.

“He’s had a good season in the Championship. Will they look for something else? I don’t know.”

Daniel Ballard and Folarin Balogun (Photo via Millwall on Twitter)
Daniel Ballard and Folarin Balogun (Photo via Millwall on Twitter)

Ballard ends the campaign having made 33 appearances (31 starts), a very solid campaign considering his mid-season knee surgery. He should be attracting interest from one of Europe’s top leagues this summer.

As well as rising to every challenge Arsenal have set him with his loan spells, the 22-year-old has also become a regular Northern Ireland international – racking up 13 caps already.

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