Craig Goodwin is desperate to make the most of his latest chance with the Caltex Socceroos in the hope of turning sporadic opportunities in Green and Gold into a consistent place in the squad.
The Adelaide United player – then with Newcastle Jets – made his Caltex Socceroos debut back in 2013, playing two matches at the East Asian Cup in the Korea Republic.
Despite being on the fringe of selection ever since, the speedy winger has added just one more cap to his name, coming off the bench in the 2016 friendly against England at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.
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Back in the fold for Friday night’s friendly against Korea Republic in Busan, Goodwin feels the time is right to try and cement his spot in the Caltex Socceroos squad.
“It’s a challenge I’ve had probably throughout my whole career; trying to be in the national team set-up consistently,” Goodwin said.
“It comes with good club performance. I managed to have a good season with Adelaide and now it’s a good chance in this camp to hopefully get some minutes and really stake my claim.
“All I can focus on is what’s in the now, and for now it’s this game coming up and this camp.
It’s about giving 100% and doing my best here, and trying to prove to the coaching staff and to myself that I can be at this level consistently.”
At 27, Goodwin is one of the more experienced players in Graham Arnold’s new-look squad, which includes six potential debutants and 11 players from the Hyundai A-League.
An attacking star for Adelaide United, Goodwin has also had a taste of football in Europe, spending two seasons in the Netherlands with Eredivisie outfit Sparta Rotterdam.
After an excellent first campaign with Sparta in 2016/17, his second wasn’t as successful, the player managing only a handful of games as the club were relegated.
His decision to return to the Reds – where he won the Premiership-Championship double in 2015/16 – this season worked out perfectly, with Goodwin scoring 10 goals and providing nine assists in 29 appearances.
While disappointed with how things ended in the Netherlands, the former Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City winger has few regrets about the experience.
“You take the opportunities that arise at the moments in your career. So for me going to Holland after the two years with Adelaide was good timing, and Europe was always something I wanted to challenge myself with,” Goodwin said.
You experience ups and downs and you just have to try and take everything as it comes and find your best form wherever you are.
“For me, after the two years I had in Europe I felt the right thing to do was to come back to the A-League and try and have a really good season and put my face in the Socceroos set-up again.
"It’s gone to plan so far and now I have the chance to really standout if I get minutes in this game coming up and see what happens from there. Now I have to try and do the business on the field and then see where it takes me.”
HOW TO WATCH: Korea Republic v Caltex Socceroos