As tweeted by Leeds United themselves (below), young Whites defender Aapo Halme has captained Finland’s Under-21s to an emphatic 8-3 victory over their Norwegian counterparts.
The young Eagle Owls were rampant in a game where they took a 3-0 lead at half-time before ramping it up in the second-half with a further five goals. Chief architect for the young Finns was Benjamin Källman with a hat-trick.
20-year-old Halme, a rangy 6ft 5in central defender, joined the Whites from HJK Helsinki in early January 2018. He arrived carrying an injury, taking on almost mythic status amongst Leeds United fans who began to doubt he existed.
He’s featured four times in the Sky Bet Championship for Leeds United this season, impressing many observers with his calmness and coolness at the back. He’s also grabbed his first goal for the Whites, stabbing home an equaliser in the 2-1 FA Cup loss to QPR.
Aside from his brief flirtations with Leeds United’s first-team this season, Halme has been a vital cog in the Under-23 Development Squad. Carlos Corberan’s youngsters are currently topping the Professional Development League by eight points and are through to the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup.
The young Whites knocked out Fulham in the last 16, winning 5-4 on penalties after playing much of the game, that went into extra-time, with just 10 men after the dismissal of goalkeeper Harrison Male.
Their reward for this victory is a trip across the Pennines to Lancashire to face a Burnley side that they have already beaten the young Clarets 6-3. In that game, first teamer Patrick Bamford scored a hat-trick on his first start after a September injury.
It will be a game where Halme will no doubt feature. The young Finn will be looking to continue his recent good form that has seen him become one of the youngsters that have a good chance of progressing into regular first-team contention.