Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury made his return to the national team line-up and said the new-look defence put in a solid display in the 3-0 win against Kyrgyzstan in Canberra on Thursday night.
Manager Ange Postecoglou was forced to change his back-four following the 2-0 loss to Jordan, with Sainsbury one of those to return in place of the injured Matthew Spiranovic.
Ryan McGowan also came in for Tarek Elrich at right-back, while an injury to Jason Davidson gave James Meredith the chance to make his debut for Australia in the other full-back position.
Sainsbury said his partnership with Baily Wright, who was the only player in the back-four to retain his spot after the Jordan defeat, is starting to look more self-assured.
“The first time me and Bailey played together was in England vs Saudi Arabia (in September 2014) and we were very shaky,” he told FourFourTwo.
“But it just shows in the course of a year all the confidence that this group has been breeding together.
“It just shows in the solid performance we put out there tonight and for three of the four players that didn’t play the last game to come into this one. It shows the depth that the squad’s got now.
“We worked really hard to try and control the game. The first half they didn’t cause us too many problems, in the second half they didn’t really die like we thought they would.
“They held a high line and we created a few chances we probably should have put away. The second half was a little bit tougher but we dealt with it pretty well.”
Sainsbury had not played for Australia since the Socceroos were held to a 0-0 draw in an away friendly against Macedonia in March earlier this year.
Thursday’s win was the 23-year-old’s first ever World Cup qualifying game and the Dutch based defender said he was delighted to be back in the Australian fold again.
“It’s always great to be back in the team,” he said. “Ange always keeps it drilled into your brain that you never know when your last game is going to be, so to come to camp it’s always a privilege to put on the Socceroos shirt in front of the fans it’s a great honour.
Sainsbury added that the message from Postecoglou before the game against Kyrgyzstan was motivated by the disappointment from the team’s previous loss to Jordan.
“First off Ange just said go out there do your job, be professional and try put on a show for the fans,” Sainsbury said.
“We reviewed the Jordan game, obviously everyone wasn’t happy with the performance over there. We came back here and we got into the habit of trying to demand ourselves to perform out there and I think we did that today.
“We did a lot of research on Kyrgyzstan, from the first time the boys played them so we had all the information needed to go into the game and perform at our best.”comments