Japan-based Socceroos defender Milos Degenek believes playing in the J.League is below his international teammate Trent Sainsbury after being linked with Urawa Red Diamonds.
The future of 25-year-old Sainsbury is in limbo after spending the past six months on loan at Inter Milan where he played once.
He has since returned to Jiangsu Suning but doesn’t appear in the first-team frame following the change of the Chinese Super League rules permitting only three foreign players on the field per side.
The club did confirm during the week that Korean defender Hong Jeong-Ho would be departing, allowing Sainsbury to be their Asian player.
However, Sainsbury was absent again as Jiangsu drew 1-1 with Tianjin on Friday night and has been linked with Japanese powerhouse Urawa.
Degenek plays with Yokohama F. Marinos in the J.League but said Sainsbury should look to return to Europe, where he previously played with PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands.
“(Urawa) would be a good move for him because he’ll play regularly but I think he’s more suited to European football,” Degenek told FourFourTwo.
“He’s at a higher level than he’d play in Japan. It all comes down to him and what his team think.”
Degenek was full of praise for Sainsbury, who he played alongside in defence in two of Australia’s three Confederations Cup games last month, insisting he should be at a big club.
“I think it’s unfortunate Trent isn’t at a big club,” Degenek said.
“For me, he was one of the best centre-backs at the tournament. He should be at a big club.
“He was at Inter. It was quite unfortunate he didn’t play much, because he should have.
“He deserves to be at a big club and hopefully he will be.”
Degenek, who left German club 1860 Munich for Yokohama in January, added that regular football was key for any Socceroo’s decision on where to play club football.
“The main thing that we’re playing week-in week-out so when we come to international camp we’re in rhythm and healthy,” he said.
“That’s the most important thing. It doesn’t matter which level or which club, as long you’re playing every week.”