Australia defender Trent Sainsbury's risky decision to swap the Dutch Eredivisie for the Israeli Premier League has helped him rediscover his form.
Socceroos manager Graham Arnold has given the nod to Sainsbury's need to prioritise match minutes by ditching Dutch giants PSV for Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.
It's about a year since the defender sealed a move to the Eredivisie but as the northern European winter sets in he's enjoying sunnier climes on the shores of the Mediterranean.
The 27-year-old, who was a standout performer in Australia's 2018 World Cup campaign, had found himself sitting on the bench during the back end of last season after falling out of favour with PSV coach Mark van Bommel.
So in late August he made the switch to the Israel Premier League and he's enjoying his new life.
"There are certain things that are a bit different, like there's a bit of difference in the food that you can find, the mentality is different. They are a lot more open and friendly in Israel," he said.
"I guess, for me personally, the hot weather is nice."
Despite a recent two-game injury layoff, Sainsbury has rediscovered form and played his part in four wins in the five games he has started for the Greens.
He said his new club has gone beyond what he expected to welcome him and he has grown into a senior role on the field.
"Everyone basically speaks English, they've all got great mentalities, they all really want to work hard and learn and we've got such a young squad as well," Sainsbury said.
"It so easy for me to go in and represent that leadership that the club was looking for."
Maccabi sit second in the league after Sunday's 3-1 win over Beitar Jerusalem-a game Sainsbury played in before he flew into Socceroos camp in neighbouring Jordan.
Arnold, who first developed the defender at the Central Coast Mariners and is his father-in-law, backed Sainsbury for taking the plunge.
"Trent had a decision to make, he could have stayed at PSV and probably sat and watched again for another year; he didn't play that much football last year," the national team boss said.
"But he made a decision, he wanted to get out, he wanted to go somewhere where he was going to play every week and enjoy life, and that's what he's doing."
Sainsbury, who's been part of the senior national side since being called up by Holger Osieck in 2013, said being in camp was like being back with his "best mates" again.
His recent club performances have him pushing to make his second start of the qualifiers when the Socceroos face Jordan at King Abdullah International Stadium on Thursday (Friday 3am AEDT).
"The main reason I left PSV is because I wanted to go somewhere and play, and I think at Maccabi I've seen myself playing every week, being a leader and taking the club onto bigger and better things," Sainsbury said.
"Translating it to (the Socceroos), it all goes hand in hand; when you're confidence is high, you're playing your best football.
"That's what I hope to bring, what I trust I'll bring, to the national team."