Australia defender Trent Sainsbury poised for long-awaited surgery
Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury will likely spend the Chinese off-season in Australia recovering from surgery he had delayed until the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Jiangsu Suning centre-back was again a cool head on Wednesday night in Australia's defence, keeping Honduras dangerman Anthony Lozano quiet in the 3-1 victory that sealed their spot at Russia 2018.
But after the match, Sainsbury -- who had battled injury in recent months -- said he would put off his return to Asia to undergo a planned clean-up operation.
"I'll be staying around here [in Australia]," Sainsbury told Fox Sports. "I've had problems with my body lately so, Monday, I'm going to go in for surgery.
"It's been about six months coming so, finally, I can get it done and get it to rest."
Sainsbury, who was absent from Thursday's public celebrations at Sydney's Martin Place due to medical appointments, did not reveal the exact nature of his surgery.
Socceroos staff have also not been forthcoming, but it is well known the 25-year-old has dealt in recent months with a hamstring issue. The problem first arose at the Confederations Cup.
After that 1-1 draw with Chile, coach Ange Postecoglou regretted pushing his star defender to the limit.
"It was unfair, to be honest, what we did to him," Postecoglou said. "He played 20 minutes of football this year and it's not right that he should be out there chasing world-class players around. He does and he does it really well.
"I just felt it was a really good shop window for him."
Despite the injury, Sainsbury has started every World Cup qualifier since the June 8 win over Saudi Arabia in Adelaide -- a stretch comprising seven matches in four countries.