Goodwin's Dutch lessons paying off

He has just seven Eredivisie appearances under his belt with Sparta Rotterdam, but former Adelaide United flier Craig Goodwin believes he is already reaping the benefits as he hunts for playing time with Australia in their upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Dutch Eredivisie"Sparta Rotterdam v AZ Alkmaar"

Craig Goodwin playing for Sparta Rotterdam Source: Getty Images Europe

The 24-year-old, who won the most recent of his three caps for his country off the bench against England in May, knows that chances to impress can be fleeting under the exacting regime of coach Ange Posteocloglou and does not want to miss a beat in camp ahead of Friday’s (AEST) duel against the Saudis in Jeddah.

"I got about 10 minutes off the bench against England but this a World Cup qualifier and it means a bit more than a friendly and it’s a special squad to be called into,” he said.

“My aim is to show that I am worthy of being called in on a regular basis. Since making the move the club has started reasonably well and I have also.

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“I think coming to Holland will improve me for sure… it’s a very good competition and I am feel I was ready to take another step in my career, to experience something different but to progress as well and Holland is a great place to do that."

Goodwin, though, holds the A-league in high regard.

"It's far better than people give it credit for, but here there’s isn't a salary cap or anything in Holland and while it’s not as financially blessed as other leagues in Europe, the squad sizes are bigger and there is more chance to have quality players in the side.

"So, in that regard, it is a higher quality and also different style which makes it harder as well to get used to.

"I am learning lot, especially from the coach Alex Pastoor and then team around me… I just need to continue from here.”



Though held back by a recent calf tweak, which has now fully recovered from, Goodwin has made an instant impression at his new home with the newly promoted side sitting in eighth spot and looking for a season of consolidation in the Netherlands’ top tier.

“I didn't necessarily expect to break through so quickly but it wasn’t a great surprise either because of the way they were talking to me before I signed," he said.

"I knew I had an opportunity it play here so long as I performed well in the training sessions."

He has joined former Olyroos defender Kenny Dougall at the club, with the left back sill looking to nail down a starting spot this season after being a regular during their promotion campaign.

“He’s been doing quite well also, and has played a few games, and the chance can come for him at any point," added Goodwin.

Goodwin feels Australia can use the 1-0 win in extreme heat against United Arab Emirates as the catalyst for three more points against a Saudi Arabia side who have also begun the last phase of qualifying for Russia 2018 with successive wins.

“The Saudi game will be tough in terms of conditions but the performance by the boys in the UAE showed how well they can deal with those sorts of conditions and Ange has everybody knowing their roles and we know what we have to do," he declared.


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3 min read
Published 4 October 2016 at 8:24pm
By Dave Lewis