Leeds United paid a decent chunk of money to bring in Aapo Halme across to England. He had made an impact in the HJK Helsinki side and with Leeds United’s new scouting range in place under Victor Orta the club decided this was another youngster who may make the grade at Elland Road, the fans are now getting to see the big defender in action due to relentless injury problems.
It would be easy to forget that he has been injured for much of his time at Elland Road and he didn’t get the time like the other youngster who have been sat on the bench, watching and learning with the first-team, getting minutes here and there. Halme has been thrust into first-team action due to injuries to Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling and not just any old games, that includes starting against Bristol City, coming off the bench early in a top of the table clash away at Sheffield United and then being thrown into the mix to stop Matt Smith yesterday in a tight game.
Although we can’t judge young players straight away Halme has made some good early steps in the first-team and it will have been made easier by the fact that others are making such an impact under Marcelo Bielsa. Jamie Shackleton starting yesterday probably meant that Halme wouldn’t play, had Stuart Dallas or even Luke Ayling been fit he would have played, but playing the two back there would have been a huge gamble. Shackleton had a brilliant game, and he joins the likes of Jack Clarke and Baily Peacock-Farrell who have impressed this season, although the goalkeeper did make his mark last season.
Halme is sure to play a part again before the more experienced players come back into the side, we only have two fit, recognised defenders in the first team, playing an under 23 central midfielder at right-back and central midfielder at centre-back yesterday. A good start for Halme, long may it continue.