| 9°C Belfast

Close

Premium

'He can be another Jonny Evans': How Daniel Ballard defied being released by Arsenal twice to stay at the club and set up Northern Ireland career, explains the scout that discovered him

Close

Daniel Ballard (right) presented his old mentor Brian Stapleton with his shirt from his senior Northern Ireland debut, against Romania last month.

Daniel Ballard (right) presented his old mentor Brian Stapleton with his shirt from his senior Northern Ireland debut, against Romania last month.

Quite a journey: Former Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton has been with Daniel Ballard from his first Arsenal contract aged eight to his most recent professional extension last year.

Quite a journey: Former Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton has been with Daniel Ballard from his first Arsenal contract aged eight to his most recent professional extension last year.

Daniel Ballard (right) presented his old mentor Brian Stapleton with his shirt from his senior Northern Ireland debut, against Romania last month.

If there’s one thing every Northern Ireland fan would want for Christmas, then a 21-year-old Jonny Evans wouldn’t be far from the top of the list.

It’s welcome news, then, that the man that arguably knows Daniel Ballard’s fledgling career better than anybody else reckons the Arsenal youngster has what it takes to emulate his international team-mate.

Ian Baraclough’s regular centre-half pairing of Evans and Craig Cathcart are both the far side of 30, leaving supporters with the inevitable question; what next?


Privacy