On the eve of Australia’s friendly clash with Kuwait, the 26-year-old centre-back has no qualms with making plain his ambitions to lead his country.
“I’d like to be captain, no way around that,” he said from Kuwait City on Saturday.
“Anyone who has the chance to captain their country, it’s a huge honour.
“But in this team we have so many players reaching the 25-30 cap mark and they’re all leaders in their own right.
“Whoever gets the job will have 23 other players behind them just as strong mentally.”
Sainsbury is the favourite to get the job, with Mark Milligan and Mat Ryan also strong contenders.
That trio have been anointed as part of a six-man leadership group, also comprising Robbie Kruse, Mat Leckie and Aaron Mooy.
A full-time Socceroos skipper will be appointed in time for January’s Asian Cup.
New coach Graham Arnold intends to rotate the captaincy in three upcoming fixtures; beginning with Kuwait, then South Korea and Lebanon on home soil next month.
The absence of veterans who featured in the Australia’s last match – a 2-0 loss that confirmed the Socceroos’ departure from the World Cup – demonstrates the leadership transition.
There’s no Jedinak or Tim Cahill, who have both retired, while Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy both missed the camp due to minor injuries.
Sainsbury said at this point, he saw the new faces in the squad slotting in well.
“We have boys coming in who are fresh-faced and it’s always nice to have that new energy in the team,” he said.
“When you have a culture like ours, probably the best in the world, it makes it easy for any player to come in and find their feet quickly.
“There’s a role and a responsibility for the boys who have been around for a while to bring the new kids in.
“Even those who are older but coming into their first camps, if you ask them they’ll say it was an effortless transition.”
Graham Arnold will take an inexperienced Socceroos squad to face South Korea in next month’s friendly in Busan as preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying ramp up. Of the 24 players named by Arnold today, only six have played ten games for the national side, and just as many players are yet to make their […]
It’s been four months since the Socceroos bowed out of the Asian Cup in a disappointing performance, so now coach Graham Arnold rightfully wishes to use the friendly against South Korea to build his squad depth ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.