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Club News


23 September 2022

Club News


23 September 2022

VILJAMI Sinisalo describes receiving his first call-up to the main Finland squad as the proudest moment of his career - and is determined to make the most of his first senior international experience.

The on-loan Aston Villa goalkeeper, who is Finland’s most-decorated youth international, has joined up with Huuhkajat for their Nations League games against Romania (tonight, 7.45pm kick-off) and Montenegro (Monday September 26, 7.45pm).

Sinisalo flew out the morning after our 2-0 win over Exeter City last weekend and has been training with the squad since.

It was an emotional moment for Sinisalo and his family, with the young keeper admitting a few tears were shed following that initial phone call - and is very grateful for a follow-up text when he missed the initial call from head coach Markku Kanerva!

“It was on the day of the Portsmouth game when some random number called me,” said Sinisalo. 

“I didn’t know who it was so I didn’t pick it up - I then get a text explaining who it was so I immediately called back! 

“The head coach told me on the phone that I was in. It was the proudest moment of my life and a moment I didn’t expect to come so soon. 

“As soon as I got off that call I was on the phone to my Mum, because she’s watched every game I’ve been in, even when I was up in Scotland on loan at Ayr United, and she started crying when she heard. 

“I was telling her to calm down a little bit! 

“It was emotional because it’s been a long journey - I played my first game for Finland in 2016 and six years later I’m in the full team.”

Indeed, it has been some journey for the 20-year-old, who has been representing his country at youth level for six years and has even captained their U21s.

Although the youngster admits he had a difficult introduction to international life.

“My debut for Finland was in a 5-0 loss to Poland as a 15-year-old - which wasn’t great!” said Sinisalo.

“Since then though I’ve played about 50 games for Finland, captained my country on numerous occasions with the U21s which was a great experience. 

“For that to happen in six years is quite quick - and I’ve gone through the age groups which is a story in itself. 

“It’s still hard to believe that I’m flying off and seeing all the players that I’ve been seeing on telly.

“Normally with the national team they try to integrate the new generation of players and I’m there for the first time. 

“I’m the youngest in the squad by quite a distance but it’s about getting used to doing things, playing for your country and what comes with It, the pressure and that. 

“Am I expecting to play? Not necessarily but if the call comes, I’m ready for it.”

Sinisalo’s competition between the sticks comes in the form of Bayer Leverkusen’s Lukáš Hrádecký, a highly-experienced stopper with 78 caps for his country, and Dundee United keeper Carljohan Ericsson.

And Sinisalo is relishing the prospect of forming part of Finland’s keeper’s union with two experienced goalkeepers - while showing he belongs at the level.

“I’ve got to be confident and I’ve got to show that I belong there, because I want to stay in (the squad),” added Sinisalo. 

“I’ve got the utmost respect for everyone in that squad. I’m working with Lukáš, who has played a number of games for Finland, captained them and plays Champions League every other week for Leverkusen. 

“It’s just brilliant - it’s a moment no-one will ever take away from me. Whatever happens, I’ve always got that. 

“I’ll make sure I take the most out of it and enjoy it as much as I can.”

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