Axed Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury has revealed his anguish at missing selection in Australia’s 26-man World Cup squad.
The dumping of Sainsbury, who has previously captained the Socceroos and has 58 caps, came as a shock despite him no longer being among Australia’s top-two central defenders.
Adding to the tough decision Socceroos coach Graham Arnold made is that 30-year-old Sainsbury is his son-in-law.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do,” Arnold told Fox Sports News.
Despite his disappointment, Sainsbury congratulated those who made Australia’s squad.
“This one hurts. But I believe everything happens for a reason,” Sainsbury posted on his Instagram.
“Big congrats to all the lads selected. I know they will do themselves, families, friends and Australia proud in Qatar.
“Good luck to all my brothers.”
Roma midfielder Cristian Volpato, who turned down a spot in the squad as he’s yet to declare his allegiance to either Australia or Italy, also used social media to explain his decision.
“I have seen lots of speculation about decisions I have supposedly taken at international level. The truth is that I am still just at the start of my professional career and I am totally focused on continuing that process at Roma,” the Sydney-born teenager posted on Instagram.
“Making any sort of rushed decision about my international future at this early stage risks being extremely premature.
“There will be plenty of time for me to take the decision that feels right for me, but right now I know my focus needs to be on continuing to work hard each and every day in order to continue improving as a player. For now, it’s time to focus on the game against Sassuolo.”
Arnold was understanding of Volpato’s decision and hoped he would eventually decide to play for the Socceroos.
“You’ve got to understand that it’s a big decision for the kid,” Arnold told Fox Sports News.
“He made that decision and he declined our opportunity to come to play for Australia at the World Cup. It doesn’t mean that he won’t do that in the future.
“He’s a young kid, he’s just starting out in his journey of football. He’s a beautiful kid and I understand the tough decision he had to make and we move on.”