A-League to create future stars this season, says Sainsbury

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A-League clubs being forced to rely on young Australian talent for the new season has Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury seeing a big future for the country's football prospects.

A significant reduction to the league's salary cap and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 means most clubs will turn to unproven local talent during the upcoming campaign.

It's a situation that has some fearing about the standard of the competition but in Sainsbury's opinion it's a huge opportunity for Australian football.

The 28-year-old knows first-hand how a chance in the A-League at a young age can set the platform to a successful career.

He was part of a Central Coast squad which won the 2011-12 A-League premiership alongside Mat Ryan, Tom Rogic, Mitchell Duke and Mustafa Amini.

All five have gone on to play overseas and represent their country, a success built from their start at the Mariners.

"I wouldn't have had the career I've had, and I know that without a doubt, if I wasn't playing minutes in the A-League," Sainsbury said.

"Reaching that 50-60 game mark and then heading overseas as a professional, sort of hardened to the lifestyle of football that you're going to encounter when you get over to Europe ... it's a good course to follow."

Sainsbury felt if those youngsters thrown in the deep end this season can forge a path of success, it could set a platform for the Socceroos to ensure a deep talent pool for years to come.

"The more youngsters that we've got playing the game the better it's going to be for the Australian football landscape," he said.

"I know it sounds a bit far off but winning the World Cup should be our aspirations in the next 30 to 50 years.

"That only starts with young Australian footballers playing the game at a professional level and playing many, many minutes, and then heading off to overseas to bigger leagues and performing there as well."

Source AAP