Danny Ballard signs first professional contract with Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 20:14 11 June 2018
Arsenal's highly-rated young defender Danny Ballard has signed his first professional contract with the club.
The talented 18-year-old has twice fought his way back into Hale End academy, signing as a scholar in August 2016.
After being released as a schoolboy in 2016, the Northern Ireland youth international broke his ankle while on trial with Southampton and joined League Two side Stevenage to regain his fitness.
Ballard was poised to sign scholarship forms with the Lamex outfit but was offered a chance to rejoin the Gunners – and has thrived ever since.
Northern Ireland youth international Ballard featured for the club’s U18s and U23s last term and was captain of the squad that reached the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea in May.
However his no-nonsense performances at the heart of the young guns’ backline throughout the season – including scoring at the Emirates in the 5-0 victory over Blackpool in the second leg of the semi-final – saw him rewarded with his first pro deal.
An Arsenal spokesman said: “We would like to congratulate Daniel on his new contract and wish him well as he continues his development at the club.”