Northern Ireland's Daniel Ballard completes League Two loan move from Arsenal
Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard has completed a season-long loan move to League Two side Swindon Town.
Ballard was called up to the Northern Ireland senior squad this year as he continued to impress for Arsenal in Premier League 2.
The 19-year-old signed a new deal with the Gunners at the end of the past season, having played three EFL Trophy games for the club's Under 21 side.
However, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill had suggested that a loan move could be the best option for Ballard for the new season now he has finally got that chance at the County Ground a year on from leading Arsenal to the FA Youth Cup final.
He played 18 times for the Gunners Under 23s last season, helping them keep seven clean sheets whilst he also was made captain against Derby County.
Ballard told the Swindon website: “It’s my first loan so I’m nervous but really excited to get started, get amongst the lads and play my football somewhere else.
“I think the stadium is really impressive – I played a lot at Boreham Wood last year and this is leaps ahead of that. The fanbase is a lot bigger and I can’t wait to pay in front of them.”
In May, NI boss O'Neill tipped Ballard for a big future.
"Daniel's shown up really well in training," he said. "You're looking at a boy that again was only playing in our Under 19s just over a year ago. He's played regularly in Arsenal's Under 23s this season."
Belfast Telegraph Digital