Inter Milan stay gives Socceroo much to ponder
SOCCEROOS defender Trent Sainsbury loved every minute of being an Inter Milan player but he isn't sure if Italy's Serie A can give him the game time he craves.
Arriving in Adelaide on Thursday night from central Milan, where he lived in an apartment which was a 15-minute walk from the world-famous Duomo, Sainsbury is at the mercy of his parent club, China's Jiangsu Suning.
He was on loan to Inter from January's FIFA transfer window.
Sainsbury, 25, made his debut last week for what is, according to Forbes, the 16th richest club in the world.
That could prove to be is a potential career-defining moment for the Socceroo, who has won 22 caps.
Sainsbury is expected to be a key defender for coach Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos at Adelaide Oval on Thursday when Australia hosts Saudi Arabia in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
He is also tipped to play an important role at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia this month.
"I can put myself in the shop window with these important games that are coming up," Sainsbury said.
"But then again I don't know what the Chinese club are going to do, they can take me back.
"I know they're struggling in the league third last, they got knocked out the AFC Champions League and the coach (Choi yong-soo) got sacked.
"Maybe they want me to go back to rescue the season or now, being with Inter Milan, I'll be at my highest (transfer market) value.
"I love Inter Milan. Being there is amazing but at the same time I'm at a stage of my career I want to keep progressing and get to that stage we're I'm at my best.
"But then again I might not have another option we'll just wait and see."
Sainsbury made an instant impact off the bench in a 5-2 win over Udinese at the iconic Giuseppe Meazza stadium in the last Serie A match of the season last weekend.
"I thought I did really well when I came on," Sainsbury said.
"Obviously the yellow card, I thought it was a professional foul.
"For me personally it was great to get on the pitch.
"I jumped at the idea of going to Inter.
"But basically if I stayed in China, the coach (Choi Yong-soo) I didn't like him.
"So I wasn't going to play in China and new rules came in, they wanted three foreigners instead of five and Inter Milan is one of the biggest clubs in the world.
"Who is going to say no to that?
"But the biggest thing for me was that Italian football was a lot more physical than I thought it could be.
"There's a lot more running, a lot more defensive shape and that's with any Italian team.
"But the physicality I handled well once my body was up and running."
Sainsbury said Inter's players and staff had made him feel welcome from the start.
"I thought it was going to be more dog eat dog but they treated me really well," he said.
There was a language gap to be breached, so Sainsbury took lessons to learn basic Italian - and wants to continue that process - but admits he would struggle to hold a conversation.
He will now settle down in Adelaide until Friday knowing the Socceroos need to beat Saudi Arabia as they seek to claim first or second spot in the group and a direct route to the Russian World Cup next year.
Sainsbury believes the Socceroos won't succumb to the pressure against the Saudis, who currently hold that vital second spot. Australia is sitting third.
"There is really no team that can stand with us especially in our group," he said.
"They will fight to get a draw with us, we're going to go out there be well prepared and we're going to win.
"I'm happy with the Oval, the pitch is decent and the atmosphere is great.
"Hopefully the crowd brings the noise."