Sainsbury: It’s a learning curve

Trent Sainsbury says inexperience is not an excuse for some of the Socceroos defensive lapses and admits he learned a lot from the friendly win over Saudi Arabia.

After a superb debut against the might of Belgium four days early, Sainsbury was a little less assured as the Socceroos held on for a 3-2 victory.

The PEC Zwolle defender started from the bench but was summoned inside five minutes after Alex Wilkinson succumbed to a glute injury.

Partnering debutant Bailey Wright in the middle, flanked by Chris Herd and Jason Davidson, it was a backline with just 17 caps between them.

“You’ve got to gel pretty quickly. We’re all out there trying to cement our own spot in the team and bring leadership to the group,” Sainsbury told FFA TV.

“There’s a lot of inexperience but at the same time the boys have got experience with their clubs.

“I thought we handled ourselves well. There was a few times myself personally I gave the ball away too cheaply in the middle.

“But at the end of the day it’s a learning curve and hopefully I’ll come away with the best (from the experience).”

With Wilkinson sustaining his injury in the warm-up, Sainsbury knew he could be called upon early but conceded it was difficult coming into the match off the bench.

But having helped the side secure their first win of 2014, the young defender says spirits are high in the camp heading towards January’s Asian Cup.    

“I think the win justifies everything the boys have been training hard for,” the former Central Coast Mariner said.

“We probably would have liked to have kept a clean sheet tonight but at the same time definitely the win boosts morale.

“The boys are on a high at the moment, everyone’s buying into what Ange is giving us at training, enjoying it and we’ll take it into the future.

“Ange is a very smart mind when it comes to football. Sometimes even when he gives his speeches at lunch it can be like a Braveheart moment…and then you’ve got to go eat your lunch and calm down.

“It’s good because the boys are buying into it and we want to keep doing it on the park and come away with good results.”