What Burnley are getting with Dan Ballard signing

Burnley-bound Dan Ballard was ‘destined for bigger things’, says the Blackpool Gazette’s Matt Scrafton, who watched the young centre back blossom at Bloomfield Road.

By Chris Boden
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 3:20 pm

Ballard was on loan with the Tangerines in 2020/21, helping the Seasiders win promotion to the Championship via the play-offs, and spent last season with Millwall.

However, he is set to complete a move to Burnley as Vincent Kompany’s first signing, as the Belgian moves for the Arsenal man to bolster his defence.

And Scrafton, from our sister newspaper, believes Burnley are getting a very good prospect: “Dan Ballard would be a cracking signing for anyone in the Championship.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30: Daniel Ballard of Blackpool celebrates with the trophy after winning the Sky Bet League One Play-off Final match between Blackpool and Lincoln City at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2021 in London, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into the stadium as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK following the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

"I'd argue he's done enough during his two loan spells to justify a Premier League move, but obviously he's still only young and there's scope to do that with Burnley if it goes well this season.

"He's a very solid and stable centre back, but that probably does him a bit of a disservice because he's a lot better than your run-of-the-mill defenders.

"He just gets given that tag though because he can do a bit of everything, he can kick it and head it if needs be, but having come through Arsenal's academy he's obviously adept with the ball at his feet as well.

"He does pick up the odd knock, but I wouldn't describe him as injury-prone.

"He made 33 appearances for Millwall and 28 for Blackpool the season before, so he's playing regularly but probably needs to make that next step in his development where he's playing week in, week out, Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and so on.

"Saying that, he is a regular for Northern Ireland and I know their supporters love him because of his dedication to the cause, his bravery and his last-ditch tackles.

"He can chip in with the odd goal but that's probably another side of his game he could improve, because he is dominant in the air.

"He was only 20/21 at the time but he still played a major role in Blackpool's promotion from League One during the 2020/21 season, where he looked a level above the third tier.

"By all accounts he continued that development in the Championship with Millwall last season and I know they were keen to bring him back, but knew realistically he was destined for bigger things.”