Loaned out Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward has been in impressive form for Aberdeen this season, with Scottish writers highly praising the Welsh stopper.
As with any transfer, a loan move for a young player can go one of two ways. It can be a roaring success with invaluable experienced gained for some, while for others it can prove a difficult and frustrating time away from familiar surroundings.
For Liverpool’s loaned goalkeeper, Danny Ward, his season-long move to Aberdeen is already well on the way to becoming the former of those conclusions.
The Reds stopper, who has been called up to the Wales senior squad for the international break as a result of his fine form, has been nothing short of a revelation since joining.
The 22-year-old has played a vital part in the Dons’ immaculate start to the SPL season and such is his vital influence between the sticks, it has taken little time for him to grab headlines.
The Scottish Daily Record’s Scott McDermott labelled the ‘keeper “an inspiration” after another top performance in the Dons’ controversial 2-0 win at Partick Thistle last weekend, before proclaiming that Ward’s form could be the defining factor behind a successful season for Aberdeen.
“This game was shaped by Adam Rooney’s use of a hand at one end of the pitch. But it’s the palms of his teammate at the other end which could define the Pittodrie clubs season,” McDermott writes.
“His [Ward’s] saves at vital moments to deny Jags pair Sean Walsh and Callum Booth were every bit as influential as the strikes from Rooney and McLean.”
The display of the composed ‘keeper – who played only five games at League Two side Morecambe last season – also lead to high praise for his impact since arriving from teammate and captain, Ryan Jack:
“Liverpool clearly see something in him and it has been great to have him here on loan. He has done brilliantly so far,” Jack told the Daily Record.
“He has been asked to come up with some answers in a few games and he has done that.
“The whole defence like playing in front of him and he has belief in them too. It has been a good combination so far and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Having helped Derek McInnes’ side to five straight wins recording three clean sheets in the process, the Dons sit second in the SPL table, a point behind Celtic with a game in hand.
After the international break the early front-runners meet for a mouth-watering clash at Pittodrie – a fixture which will see Ward endure his toughest test of his Aberdeen stay so far.
And for McDermott, the form of the Reds loan ‘keeper could make the difference for McInnes’ side who are looking to go one better this season.
“Aberdeen lost all four games against the Hoops last season, despite finishing second in the Premiership table.
“But Ward’s calming influence between the sticks – and his undoubted ability – might just make the difference against Celtic this term.”
Perhaps a bold statement from McDermott, but one that illustrates the level of confidence the Reds loanee has built up with the manner of his calm and commanding performances.
Before the clash of table-toppers on September 12th, Ward now joins up with Wales for their Euro 2016 qualifying games against Cyprus and Israel – the highest reward possible for his impressive form.
Involvement within the senior set-up for the first time since November 2013 will provide a huge confidence boost to the young stopper.
Even if the chance for match action for Chris Coleman’s side does not come across the two games on his return to the international set-up, Ward can be safe in the knowledge that he’s progressing well.
A tough test awaits on return with the Celtic showdown, but it’s a chance for Ward to showcase his ability on the big stage which has seen him get off to a flying start in a big season for the Dons No.1.