Friday, 31 January 2014

Trent Sainsbury is off the Zwolle

Long time since I have written anything in my blog, but I thought that given my interest in Dutch football and the A-League, this little cross-over that has hit the news is a perfect time to add a little of my knowledge to the pool of news going around.

Trent Sainsbury: A New Hope

Sainsbury is quite simply the A-League's most promising central-defender. A nippy defender who can play out of the back, Sainsbury has proven to be one of the best in his home country with continued plaudits.

The Western Australian native was brought to the Central Coast Mariners by now Vegalta Sendai coach, Graham Arnold from the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport). Sainsbury had previously spent time with Perth Glory before his scholarship to Canberra, but it was the Mariners who secured his signature. His senior debut came in the 2010 season where he featured mostly as a right-back.  By the 2012-13 season, Saisbury had solidified his position as a first-choice centre-back alongside former NAC Breda and FC Utrecht stalwart , Patrick Zwaanswijk. Together they formed a formidable partnership on the way to the A-League Premiership, winning the grand final against Western Sydney Wanderers in a 2-0 victory. Sainsbury then capped off his season with a call-up to the Socceroos squad for the East Asia Football Federation (EAFF) Cup. However, after some rumoured tensions with then Socceroos boss, Holger Osieck, Sainsbury remained the only player of the squad not to appear during the tournament.

This season, partnered with either Marcel Seip (of VVV Venlo and Plymouth Argyle fame) or Zac Anderson, Sainsbury has been one of the most consistent players on the pitch for the Mariners and has been the first name on the team sheet.

Off to the Low Lands

Today it was confirmed that young Sainsbury would be off to PEC Zwolle in the Eredivisie on a two and a half year contract. With the likelihood of Zwolle stalwart, Darryl Lachman likely to be heading to greener pastures in the Summer, Zwolle will be looking for another quick defender to add to their ranks. Obviously as we get more information from Zwolle about the confirmation of the signing, we will know a bit more about it. If you follow me on twitter, I will try and keep you up to date with the information as I get it and what the Zwolle manager and fans think about the signing of Sainsbury.

PEC Zwolle is a team of modest history. Home to 120,000 people, the city of Zwolle is located in the northeastern province of Overijssel of which Zwolle is the capital. Overijssel is also home to Enschede, the largest city of the province which houses one of the Netherlands more successful clubs in recent years, FC Twente. Needless to say PEC and FC Twente have a bit of a regional rivalry.

The club was founded in 1910 but has since gone under several transformations following near or total bankruptcy. Traditionally a club for the middle class, PEC has changed names 3 times. Firstly as PEC Zwolle, then to PEC Zwolle '82, then changed to FC Zwolle following bankruptcy in 1990, and finally returned to PEC Zwolle in the 2012-2013 season.

PEC were promoted to the Eredivisie two seasons ago after winning the Eerste Divisie title and duly finished 11th in the first season back in the top flight since the 2003-2004 season. The last deluge into the top flight only lasted two seasons. as an 18th placing sent them back down after only scoring 26 goals.  Zwolle's highest finish in the Eredivisie so far was in 1978-79 when they finished 8th. Apart from a Eerste Divisie trophies in 1978, 2002 and 2012, Zwolle lack silverware. However the club has been runner-up in the KNVB Beker twice but too far removed from recent history to really mention.

So far this season, PEC are sitting in 9th place with a goal difference of +1. On opening day they
accounted for giants Feyenoord 2-1 at the Ijsseldeltastadion and even maintained 1st spot for 3 weeks early in the season before succumbing to consecutive defeats against Ajax Amsterdam (2-1) and Vitesse Arnhem (3-0). Two draws followed those defeats, but Zwolle were back on the horse again after thrashing ADO Den Haag 6-1 at home marking their biggest win of the campaign.

The manager, Ron Jans has been a big part of Zwolle's success since taking over in March last year. Now there seems to be a great self-belief amongst a group of largely young, talented players that they can take on the big teams and at least give them a run for their money. Jans did very well with his previous Eredivisie charges, SC Heerenveen whom also had a very young team with the likes of Ousama Assaidi, Bas Dost and Luciano Narsingh playing large roles in the attacking prowess of the team. After a failed stint at Standard Liege, Jans has come back to the Eredivisie with Zwolle with a point to prove and has done well so far.

Given Jans' belief in young players, it is very possible, especially with the departure of Lachman expected, that Sainsbury will be given a fairly extended run in the first-team. Will it be a baptism of fire for the Socceroos hopeful? Only time will tell. But the fact that this move has happened in a World Cup year gives the young Aussie plenty of motivation to show what he can do to be a bolter for Rio.

Australian and Zwolle fans will now be looking one with great interest as to how the 22-year old from WA will go, but the young Aussie will not be alone as he can look forward to ANZAC connection with New Zealand's Ryan Thomas (so far 1 goal in 12 appearances) also on the books for Zwolle.

Needless to say, everyone is wishing for Trent's every success in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment