The stuff of dreams: Sainsbury pumped for PSV’s Champions League tilt
It was a no-brainer for Trent Sainsbury to join PSV Eindhoven when ex-Caltex Socceroos assistant (and now PSV boss) Mark van Bommel came calling after the FIFA World Cup.
Having had a taste of Dutch football during a stint with PEC Zwolle between 2014 and ’16, Sainsbury jumped at the chance to link with one of the powerhouses of the Eredivisie.
The bonus for the 26-year-old is he’ll have fellow Aussie Aziz Behich alongside him, while PSV will also be playing in the UEFA Champions League this season, drawn against Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan.
It will throw the unflappable Sainsbury into jaw-dropping clashes against the likes of Lionel Messi, Harry Kane and Mauro Icardi.
“It’s a crazy group that we have been drawn in but getting to walk out to that theme song that’s the stuff that you dream of as a kid,” Sainsbury told www.socceroos.com.au.
“Getting to do that alongside a fellow Aussie [Behich], that’s going to be something special. A long way to go, a lot of hard work to go, but we will get there in the end.
“I think when I was in Holland previously, [PSV] was the club that I wanted to join in that league and to have the chance to join the team that’s won three of the last four championships is always an easy decision.
“It’s always nice to have friends at the club, especially ones that I have known for a long time now. It makes the transition a whole lot easier and we can always communicate with each other if we ever need help with anything.”
As one of the more experienced players in the Caltex Socceroos squad these days, Sainsbury is excited by the number of fresh faces and youngsters in camp in Turkey this week.
The former Jiangsu Suning and Inter Milan defender senses a new “energy” amongst the squad, wit a fresh slate for everyone under new boss Graham Arnold.
While it’s still early days in Arnold’s reign, the focus is already on defending the AFC Asian Cup title won on home soil in 2015 in the UAE next year.
“Obviously we have a big target on our back now being the winners of the last one, the champions of Asia,” Sainsbury said.
“We want to do it again but I think we have the right staff here to get us in the best shape, and on the field tactically we will have the best tactics.
He added of the 2015 triumph over Korea Republic in Sydney: “It was an incredible feeling.
“Being a part of the team that created history for Australia in front of friends and family that were in the crowd jumping and cheering and screaming.
“I never felt like that day was going to be any different to what it was, I always felt that we were going to win it and at the end of the day we were going to be holding that trophy above our head screaming and shouting.”