Sainsbury eyes next big European move

After a run of consecutive games, Socceroo Trent Sainsbury finally feels like he belongs in Europe and is eyeing a potential move to a bigger club.

It’s been a big week for the former Central Coast Mariner. After opening his scoring account for his Dutch club side PEC Zwolle in their 2-2 draw with NEC Nijmegen at the weekend, the classy defender was also nominated for 2014/15 PFA Footballer of the Year.

Sainsbury, 23, is in his third season playing in the Dutch Eredivisie and feels like he has now settled into life as a professional footballer in Europe.

“I think belong is the correct word for me,” Sainsbury said.

“I went to Holland totally in awe because of sides like Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV – the big three clubs – and it was hard for me to say that I was actually playing in that league.

“But now I go there and I think I belong there and I see it as a stepping stone that will lead me going to a bigger club. At the moment I’m playing regularly in the Eredivisie so that’s a big thing to have in your CV.”

After scoring his first ever goal in Holland Sainsbury celebrated with a Kangaroo hop but his joy soon turned to despair as the centre back was forced off with an injury with 18 mins left to play.

After the match Sainsbury tweeted he wasn’t “feeling the best” but added that he was “confident “ he could play next week.

Since returning back from an early season injury in round nine this season Sainsbury has played in seven out of the past eight club games.

Of his recent return to the starting line-up the former Central Coast Mariner said he now feels strong mentally and physically.

“I like to think my body is in a better place and I’m in a good space in my head and I’m trying to move forward,” he said.

Obviously coming back from injury it was tough trying to get back that spot in the team when they were doing so well.

“An injury in the side opened up a hole for me to come in and I slotted in. I think I’ve been performing well so far with the club and I’ve just got to keep that going and bring that into the Socceroo camps also.”

Sainsbury is in the final year of his contract and said that his future at the club is still uncertain.

“It’s an awkward one,” he said. “This is the last year of my contract and the club has the option for another year. I’m not sure what they want to do with it. We’ll sit down and talk to them shortly with my agent and go over things.”

Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.