Sainsbury: China has improved me

Australia defender Trent Sainsbury insists he has no regrets switching the Eredivisie with PEC Zwolle for China's Jiangsu Suning.

Trent Sainsbury says playing in the Chinese Super League is a lot less intense than featuring in the Eredivisie, but insists he is improving as a defender.

The Australia international scored the Socceroos’ only goal in a 2-1 loss to Greece in Melbourne on Tuesday, after a tough first half in which the hosts fell to a 2-0 deficit after an eighth-minute goal from Petros Mantalos and a wonder goal from Giannis Maniatis.

The match concluded a mixed bag of performances for the Socceroos, who lost 2-1 to England at the Stadium of Light before a 1-0 win over Greece in Sydney preceded the friendly loss in Melbourne.

Sainsbury, like his team, was inconsistent – particularly in Melbourne – but insisted he is becoming a better defender since making the switch from Netherlands and PEC Zwolle to China with Jiangsu Suning.

"It's not as intense as Holland," Sainsbury said.

"Holland was more like Australia – the ball on the deck and playing in between the lines, where as in China, a lot of teams come out very defensive, so it's hard to break them down.

"They play a lot of counter-attack there, but at the same time I'm marking some of the best strikers in the world, so it keeps me on my toes.

"Defensively, I’m learning a lot more.

"On the ball, I don't think China has improved me. Holland did that, but as a defender, yeah, it's improving me."