After securing a dream move to the Eredivisie with PEC Zwolle in 2014, Sainsbury suffered a serious knee injury on debut curtailing his ambitions of playing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
But after securing his first cap against Belgium in September 2014, the WA product soon became an integral member of Ange Postecoglou’s defensive unit. The 23-year-old started every game at the 2015 Asian Cup and netted a crucial goal in Australia’s semi-final win over UAE.
He was also named man of the match in the Socceroos’ 2-1 extra-time win over South Korea in the final following an assured display alongside Matthew Spiranovic.
Born in Perth, Sainsbury rose through the youth ranks of Perth Glory and AIS before securing a senior deal in 2010 at the Central Coast Mariners under coach Graham Arnold. The composed central defender spent four years at the club which included the 2012/13 Hyundai A-League Championship.
Now firmly entrenched in PEC Zwolle’s starting line-up in Holland, the future appears bright for the 23-year-old as the Socceroos build towards the 2018 World Cup in Russia.