Trent Sainsbury's career nearly didn't exist after dating Socceroos coach Graham Arnold's daughter

Trent Sainsbury Socceroos
The future leader of the green and gold nearly had his career stopped in its tracks because of love

Socceroos star Trent Sainsbury has the football world at this feet - currently playing at UEFA Champions League club PSV Eindhoven and likely to be named Australia's next captain after Mile Jedinak retires.

But what many may not know is the 26-year-old central defender's career nearly stalled as a teenager at the Central Coast Mariners - who were being managed at the time by now Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.

Sainsbury married Arnold's daughter Elissa in a magnificent Palm Beach ceremony late last year, but the beginnings of the relationship were nearly fatal to his career, according to Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater.

"Trent Sainsbury's career nearly never happened. Arnie pulled him from obscurity and wasn't sure about the kid when he got to the Central Coast," Slater told Big Sports Breakfast.

"He was only 16-17 years old and Arnie didn't hold much hope for him. I wouldn't say he had a bad attitude but he had some earrings and all sorts of bits and pieces. 

"Arnie groomed him and started liking him and then on the sly he started going out with Arnie's daughter up at the Central Coast - and Arnie didn't know.

"I used to go up there to do commentary and Trent would always be out of the squad. I'd walk up to him and he would be sitting on the bench - a bit of a forlorn figure.

"I'd say 'mate, is there any surprise? Are you wondering why you are not in the squad?'

"Obviously it all went the right way and they are a beautiful couple and recently married."



Mr & Mrs Sainsbury

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With the career of current national team skipper Jedinak winding to a close, thoughts have turned to possible candidates to take over the coveted role.

Sainsbury is the standout option but it has been noted that it's an unusual situation for a coach's son-in-law to be captain of the same team.

Slater believes there should be no issue with Sainsbury being green and gold skipper if he is perfect candidate to lead the team forward.

"I don't see [his relationship with Arnold] as a problem at all. I think Trent has proven he is good enough," he said.

"He is a fantastic player. Made a move to a very big European club PSV Eindhoven. His career is on the right track and he is a leader.

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"If he is the right man for the job, that's the only thing we need to know."

Sainsbury has played 33 minutes for PSV this season, coming off the bench in the 6-1 win over Willem II on September 1.

He, and compatriot Aziz Behich, will be hoping to get game time in the Champions League as PSV Eindhoven take on Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday morning (2.55am AEST).