Craig Goodwin couldn't have gotten his second stint at the city of churches off to a better start.
In his first official game back at Adelaide United, the 26-year-old delivered a sensational performance in the Reds' 3-0 demolition of Central Coast Mariners in Wednesday night's FFA Cup fixture.
The match was his first in Adelaide Red after two years in the Dutch top-flight with Sparta Rotterdam.
Goodwin believes the experience in Europe has now made him a smarter player than when he first left Adelaide.
“I think I’ve grown a fair bit,” Goodwin told Adelaide's official website.
“Playing in the Eredivisie in Holland, obviously the top division, in good competition playing against some good players and some really good teams.
“So I’ve really enjoyed my time over there and I learnt a lot about the game and different styles of play and the intensity of the game and speeds.
“So I’ve definitely learnt a lot from my time abroad and I’ll be looking to implement that with Adelaide in the coming season.”
Goodwin went on to add that he was pleased to mark his return with a goal and stated the team is hoping to go as far in the FFA Cup as possible.
“It was very nice to get on the scoresheet in front of the home fans again,” he said.
“Hopefully a lot more of that to come but very happy with the team performance and getting through to the next round of the cup.
“It’s a competition that we really want to do well in this year and give us a good foundation for the league season.”
The winger also discussed why the Reds were able to essentially flick a proverbial switch and noticeably lift their intensity in comparison to their pre-season friendly matches.
Goodwin said it largely comes down to mentality and the obvious fact that this was a competitive fixture.
“I think the mentality when you play the friendly games it’s not so much about winning,” he said.
“Of course you want to win, but you’re working on the tactics and stuff like that and the style of movement of play and working and trying to gel together as a team.
“But when you bring it into that official game environment and especially in a cup competition where you win or you’re out then it brings in the mentality of that real winning attitude.
“And I think you saw from the first minute to the last minute we were pressing at every moment we could, we were hunting and I think it was a good team performance from us.
“I think the best thing about it is that it’s so early in the pre-season and we still have so much improvement to go.”
Goodwin further thanked United fans for their amazing support since he has re-joined his hometown outfit.
“Very happy to play in front of my family and friends and in front of the Adelaide supporters which have been so kind to me to start with here and of course a couple of years ago as well,” he continued.
“So really happy to get back out in front of the home fans and give them something to cheer about and really looking forward to this season and playing a lot of minutes and helping the team as much as possible.”