'We'll go on a run in Russia, I can feel it in my bones'
Injury denied him the chance to play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and Caltex Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury isn’t going to let the 2018 edition pass him by.
Despite being just 26, Sainsbury is the most experienced defender in Bert van Marwijk’s 26-man extended squad with 33 appearances for the national team.
Not one has come at a FIFA World Cup though, and the centre back is keen to right that wrong.
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“It will be hard not to imagine what’s ahead, what’s at stake and what the possibilities are of the games,” Sainsbury told socceroos.com.au.
“Every kid dreams of going to a World Cup and I still dream that to this day. Until I’m out there on the pitch, I’ll keep dreaming.”
WATCH OUR SIT DOWN WITH TRENT SAINSBURY IN THE VIDEO AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
The players haven’t made a secret of how tough the camp in Turkey has been so far. Appearing nine times for Swiss club Grasshopper Zurich since February this season, Sainsbury is one of the more rested Caltex Socceroos in camp.
“I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be in camp again and have a professional staff who can take care of me and get the rig in order,” said Sainsbury.
“We’re training the hardest we possibly can at the moment. The way you train is the way you perform on the pitch – we give our all in training and we’ll give the same when it comes to the match.”
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE BEHIND THE SCENES WRAP OF DAY 4 IN THE VIDEO BELOW
Group stage matches against France, Denmark, and Peru are soon approaching but preparations aren’t being rushed.
Friendlies against the Czech Republic and Hungary will give the squad a good idea of where they’re at ahead of the tournament – and the closer it gets, the more things will ramp up.
“[Van Marwijk] knows what he wants and he has to get that across to the boys. He’s teaching us slowly but quickly enough to be ready for what’s ahead. He has a specific idea which he’s implementing now,” added Sainsbury.
“This team has untapped potential at the moment and we’re going to go on a good run in Russia. I can feel it in my bones so I’m excited for the games coming up.
“It’s a bit difficult to say [how things will ramp up] at the moment because it feels like any other camp. But once the second week starts to roll around and we’ve been here for another week and another week then it will feel a bit different.
“Preparations and the tackles might get a little bit more [frequent] and the desperation might be a bit higher and you’ll start seeing some of the boys not trying harder but the desperation will come out because everyone wants to be in that final squad.”
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