Caltex Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury said it was ‘nice’ to touch down in the United Arab Emirates and see his ‘happy’ teammates ahead of Australia’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ campaign.
The PSV Eindhoven defender was amongst the first players to arrive in Dubai as the team’s preparations get underway.
With Australia’s Caltex Socceroos spread around all corners of the globe, Sainsbury welcomed the feeling of heading into camp and putting in a good shift.
“It’s always nice to come back to camp, seeing all the boys and their happy faces, seeing what everyone’s been up to since the last camp,” said Sainsbury.
“It’s always nice to get away from your club’s day-to-day routine and get in with the staff and medical team that we’ve got here.”
The squad will have a few days together before they have their final hit-out against Oman on Sunday night.
Sainsbury believes the players will be more than prepared for the match as they turn their attention to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
“Every game that we play is important, whether it’s for points, a friendly or to be a qualifier,” said Sainsbury.
“We have to take it seriously, and the boys are going to be chomping at the bits to get out there because spots are on the line to be in the starting line-up.
“We definitely want to get the win and take that and roll it on into the start of the tournament.”
In his time as a Caltex Socceroo, Sainsbury has grown into one of Australia’s most experienced and reliable defenders.
The 26-year-old began his career in the Hyundai A-League for Central Coast Mariners where he spent four years, before leaving Gosford for the Eredivisie playing two seasons with PEC Zwolle.
A spell with China’s Jiangsu Suning followed, and he also played for Inter Milan and Grasshoppers, before returning to Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven.
With big game experience, including in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage against the likes of Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur, Sainsbury is well-placed to play a leading role at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
“Moving clubs is always going to be difficult and then especially going to a club with the calibre of PSV,” said Sainsbury. “Top club, Champions League club, and game time is never going to be easy.
“At the same time, any minutes I can get is valuable, it’s like putting money in the bank because you need that foundation to build on.
“For me personally it was a nice thing to play in the Champions League, it’s a nice little confidence boost to take into this tournament.”
Australia take on Oman at Dubai’s Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium on Sunday, 30 December 2018 at 4.00pm (11.00pm AEDT).