Swindon Town are delighted to announce the signing of Daniel Ballard on a season-long loan from Arsenal.
Ballard is a product of the Gunners’ academy having been at the club since the age of eight and signed his first professional contract in June last year.
His fine form as part of the North Londoners’ Premier League 2 side saw him rewarded with a call-up to the Northern Irish senior squad earlier this year as well as a new deal at Arsenal at the end of the season.
His move to the west country is 19-year-old’s first loan spell and joins the Robins a year on from leading the Arsenal to the FA Youth Cup Final.
The talented defender has already had to face adversity in his professional life – after being released at 16 by Arsenal following eight years in the academy, Daniel broke his ankle while on a subsequent trial with Southampton.
Ballard fought his way back, however, with League Two side Stevenage but, while on the verge of scholarship terms with the Hertfordshire, was offered the chance to team up with his boyhood side in a friendly against Bayern Munich Under-18s. He was so impressive he earned a two-year scholarship on the spot.
In the second year of that scholarship he was made captain of the Under-18s. Last season, played 18 of the young Gunners’ 22 games in PL2 as they finished second behind Everton in the division.
Upon signing, Ballard said:
“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.”