• Sparta Rotterdam coach Dick Advocaat and Craig Goodwin (R) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Fringe Socceroos winger Craig Goodwin has vowed to force his way back into the national team reckoning after his abrupt Sparta Rotterdam exit.
By
Dave Lewis

3 May 2018 - 8:07 PM  UPDATED 3 May 2018 - 8:07 PM

The 26-year-old flier who almost single-handedly saved the club from relegation last season with a goal and two assists on the last day, won’t be around to repeat the feat for beleaguered coach Dick Advocaat this time around.

A virtual bystander since the former Netherlands boss took charge in January, Goodwin has seen his hopes of a World Cup spot evaporate, and is now focusing on the 2019 AFC Asian Cup instead.

Released from the final year of his Sparta contract - at Goodwin’s request this week - he will be on the wanted list of several A-League clubs, including a possible return to Adelaide United.

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He leaves the Netherlands on Friday contemplating what might have been after a season on which he made 20 Eredivisie appearances.

“I wasn’t given the opportunities I’d have liked, and felt I deserved, from previous performances,” he said.

“And when I did get the opportunities I was playing out of position.

“It was disappointing going from an important player for the team to being completely on the outer.

“I wasn’t happy at the club and I’m pleased we came to an agreement (to leave).

“With a change of coach these things can happen in football and it’s been a learning experience for me. I just have to take away the positives from the situation.”

The bitterest pill for Goodwin to swallow has been the cruelling of his World Cup prospects.

He collected three caps during Ange Postecoglou’s reign, the last of which was against England in 2016.

“That side of things has been very disappointing ... the timing hasn’t been good for me but I can’t change the scenario,” he added.

“Going to the World Cup is the biggest dream for any player but for me now that’s probably an unreachable target.

“It’s just about getting back into the national team frame again down the track by playing somewhere consistently and doing well.

“I want to enjoy my football again and January’s Asian Cup is certainly something I’ll be aiming for.”

Goodwin is not rushing into any quick decisions on his future, whether that lies back in Australia, Asia or the A-League.

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“I just need to weigh up what comes my way and make a decision on what’s best. I am open to all sorts of scenarios.

“I still have great memories from Sparta, beating teams like PSV and Feyenoord, reaching the Dutch Cup semis and then coming off the bench on the last day of the season to keep the club up with a goal and two assists.

“There are plenty or matches and times where I feel I’ve done extremely well.”