Arnold backing Aussie in Israel
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.