Good can be a ‘number one central defender’ for Australia, says former coach

Curtis Good is potential untapped, according to Paul Okon, who believes the fit-again Melbourne City defender still has a bright future at national team level.

Good emerged as one of Australia’s most promising young defenders under Okon’s watch at the Young Socceroos at the turn of the decade.

He earned his first Caltex Socceroos cap two years after joining Premier League club Newcastle United seven years ago but suffered a hip injury on his international debut that has plagued the centre-back’s career.

The 26-year-old staggered from surgery to surgery in an attempt to find fitness and was placed under a rigorous conditioning program upon his return home to Melbourne in September last year.

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It has since paid dividends. After making his first league start in almost five years last season, Good has missed just one Hyundai A-League match since March and is thriving for top of the table City under Erick Mombaerts.   

“If he can have an injury-free season, for me, that’s one of the bright stories possibly to come out of the A-League this year,” said Okon, speaking on the FOX Football podcast.

“He can be one of our number one central defenders for the national team.

Curtis Good during a portrait session at the Hotel Verta on March 4, 2014 in Battersea, England
Curtis Good during a portrait session at the Hotel Verta on March 4, 2014 in Battersea, England

“He’s a leftie so a lot of coaches like to have that balance with having a left-footed centre-back. He’s got a bit of presence, he’s good in the air, he’s physically strong, he’s quick without being explosively quick and he can play out from the back.

“He makes it look so easy, he drives into midfield, which I loved having him do with the Young Socceroos.”

Good’s fateful Caltex Socceroos debut against Ecuador in March 2014 has been the former youth international captain’s first and only senior appearance in the green and gold to date. 

But Okon is optimistic when it comes to the ‘all-rounder type defender’ and his chances of staking what would have a only a few years ago seemed a very unlikely claim for national team selection.

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For the ex-Central Coast Mariners coach and 28-times Australian international, it is simply a matter of whether Good can stay fit.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders. For me, the question marks aren’t about what Curtis Good can deliver on the football field.

“It’s how his body can hold up and hopefully he gets that opportunity to show that this season.”

Good scores his first goal in seven years against the Mariners last Friday