INTERVIEW – PEC Zwolle defender Trent Sainsbury


It has been a great season so far for PEC Zwolle’s Trent Sainsbury. With Zwolle flying high in the Eredivisie and lifting the Asian Cup with his country Australia,’s Martijn Hilhorst conducted an exclusive interview with the big defender this week.

What’s the biggest difference on the pitch between the A-League and the Eredivisie?

In the Dutch league every player is very good technically so the ball does all the work. In Australia not all players are as technically good so they have to work harder.

Gosford and Zwolle are very similar in size – what other similarities do you see between the two and also major differences?

The biggest thing that comes to mind is the slow paced lifestyle. I don’t like crowds so both places suit me. In Gosford I lived next to the beach and would always walk down in shorts, flip flops and a singlet for a coffee; while in Zwolle if I go for coffee I have to put on my entire wardrobe so I don’t freeze. But I think I’m used to the weather now and can enjoy my walks around the city.

Did you experience any transition troubles when moving from Australia to the Netherlands?

I had a troubled first few days with jetlag and then also my broken kneecap on the sprinkler so I can honestly my first few months were extremely bad for me. But once I got it in my head that I can only go up from here I was trying to see all the positives in the day.

What is your greatest (personal) success in your career?

My best moment would be getting my first game for the Australian national team. But the greatest moments are for me winning trophies with my teammates.

On the sixth of February, you broke your knee at your debut for PEC Zwolle in the away match versus FC Utrecht due to a ‘nozzle’. Did the thought of legal action ever came across your mind?

I was certain I would go to court over the matter but it never eventuated. It makes me angry and upset still to this day that nothing happened and nobody got punished. I still haven’t received a letter of apology which annoys me most of all. I went through an extremely rough time and missed a lot of great opportunities because of a dangerous pitch.

You are just 23-year old, but already became champions in Australia and won the national cup and super cup in the Netherlands. What realistic goal do you have for yourself in the near future?

I would like to be playing European football next year. Another piece of silverware would be nice also.

You like playing in a possession-based team like PEC Zwolle or would you prefer to play in a team were you aren’t responsible for the build-up play?

I love touching the ball and having responsibility in the build-up, but I’m a defender first and ballplayer second so whatever the coach asks of me I’ll do that job.

Two Chinese clubs offered PEC Zwolle $1.7m for you and yourself a year’s salary of $1.2m. Did PEC Zwolle accepted the bids of those two Chinese clubs?

I’m not sure if Zwolle accepted any bids, it doesn’t concern me because we are doing something special at Zwolle and I’m glad I’m apart of this.

You immediately rejected the offer. What’s the (main) reason about this? Financially it would be a huge step forward.

I want to reach the highest level of football possible for me and not have any regrets later on in life. I go with my gut feelings and my gut tells me the Eredivisie is the best place for my progression for now.

How did it feel to score your first goal for Australia. 

This was a nice moment for me and I was extremely proud and couldn’t stop smiling after the game. I’ve scored one and now want more.

Which PEC player (apart from yourself) has the best potential?

PEC is full of great young players with big futures, but if I had to pick out a couple it would be Ryan Thomas and Mustafa Saymak. They a definitely going onto bigger and better things in my mind.

What is your ultimate goal for your football career? A certain competition or club? Or maybe international success with Australia?

I’ve always dreamt of playing in one of the big leagues like any young boy. Germany, England, Spain and Italy are all a nice destinations but I’m keeping my feet on the ground and working hard with Zwolle. And my ultimate dream it to be playing in a top team, winning trophies and playing Champions League football. Also I’d like to have success with Australia and represent them at a world cup. Dream big.

We at are truly grateful that Trent took time for this interview. Good luck for the future with PEC Zwolle.


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