Arnold back­ing Aussie in Is­rael

Mercury (Hobart) - - SOCCER - MARTY SILK SOCCEROOS OR JOR­DAN: www.the­mer­cury.com.au

THERE ARE CER­TAIN THINGS THAT ARE A BIT DIF­FER­ENT, LIKE THERE’S A BIT OF DIF­FER­ENCE IN THE FOOD THAT YOU CAN FIND MARK SAINS­BURY

SOCCEROOS man­ager Gra­ham Arnold has given the nod to Trent Sains­bury’s need to pri­ori­tise match min­utes by ditch­ing Dutch gi­ant PSV for Is­raeli side Mac­cabi Haifa.

It’s about a year since the de­fender sealed a move to the Ere­di­visie, but as the northern Euro­pean win­ter sets in he’s en­joy­ing sun­nier climes on the shores of the Mediter­ranean.

The 27-year-old, who was a stand­out per­former in Aus­tralia’s 2018 World Cup cam­paign, had found him­self sit­ting on the bench dur­ing the back end of last sea­son af­ter fall­ing out of favour with PSV coach Mark van Bom­mel. So in late Au­gust he made the switch to the Is­rael Premier League and he’s en­joy­ing his new life.

“There are cer­tain things that are a bit dif­fer­ent, like there’s a bit of dif­fer­ence in the food that you can find, the men­tal­ity is dif­fer­ent. They are a lot more open and friendly in Is­rael,” he said.

De­spite a re­cent two-game in­jury lay­off, Sains­bury has re­dis­cov­ered form and played his part in four wins in the five games he has started for the Greens. He said his new club has gone be­yond what he ex­pected to wel­come him.

“Ev­ery­one ba­si­cally speaks English, they’ve all got great men­tal­i­ties, they all re­ally want to work hard and learn and we’ve got such a young squad as well,” Sains­bury said.

“It so easy for me to go in and rep­re­sent that lead­er­ship that the club was look­ing for.”

Mac­cabi sits sec­ond in the league af­ter Sun­day’s 3-1 win over Beitar Jerusalem, a game Sains­bury played be­fore he flew into Socceroos camp in neigh­bour­ing Jor­dan.

Arnold, who first de­vel­oped the de­fender at the Cen­tral Coast Mariners and is his fa­ther-in-law, backed Sains­bury for tak­ing the plunge.

“He wanted to get out, he wanted to go some­where where he was go­ing to play ev­ery week and en­joy life, and that’s what he’s do­ing,” he said.

Mean­while, Arnold said the Socceroos are not even at half strength in their cam­paign to qual­ify for 2022 World Cup.

Aus­tralia has played ag­gres­sive, press­ing foot­ball and scored ruth­lessly in the qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign to sit among Asia’s form teams. But Arnold says his men have a long way to go to reach full po­ten­tial.

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