Reds fan favourite Goodwin glad to be home

Picture: AUFC Media

Adelaide United hometown hero and fan favourite Craig Goodwin has returned for his third stint with the Reds.

The left sided winger penned a six-month loan deal, keeping him in Adelaide until the end of this A-League season in what is a massive boost for a United side that has had an inconsistent start to 2021.

Goodwin first played for the Reds after joining in 2014 and one season later, he was named their player of the year and was a member of their maiden A-League title winning team.

From there, he departed for Eredivisie side Sparta Rotterdam, where he continued to impress however as time went on, Goodwin’s playing time declined, prompting a return to the Reds.

His second stint at the club saw Goodwin add more silverware to his cabinet with two goals in a victorious FFA Cup Final enough to secure him the Mark Viduka Medal as the player of the match.

Goodwin scored on his second debut for the club. Picture adelaideunited.com.au

Goodwin then made the switch to Saudi side Al-Wehda where he continued his hot run of form but his stay in the country was cut short due to personal reasons.

“Last season we finished fourth and made the Asian Champions League for the first time,” Goodwin said of his first year with Al-Wehda.

“I finished with 10 assists, four goals and got recognised as one of the best players of the season.

“The new coach came in for the new season and decided that he wanted to bring in his own Portuguese winger and I was the person who was sacrificed for that.

“The director didn’t want me to leave completely so he made me sign another year and sent me out on loan. I ended up signing for Abha Club.”

Despite starting every game in his new home, Goodwin admits that the difficulties of living in Abha were proving too much for him and his partner.

“It’s a much smaller town, much more reserved, much more of a country sort of place and living wise it was very difficult,” he said.

“I had to speak to Abha to come to a mutual agreement to terminate the loan and they were very good about it.

“We came to an agreement and now it’s worked out for the rest of the season that I’ll be at Adelaide and I’m really excited about it.”

The Reds themselves are thrilled with the signing as Director of Football Bruce Djite has made known.

“Bringing someone of Craig’s quality back to Adelaide is fantastic for the Club,” Djite said, who was a teammate of Goodwin’s during the title winning season of 2015/16.

“Not only will his A-League experience help the younger players, but he is another great character for the changeroom and adds a lot of quality to the squad.”

The acquisition of Goodwin will provide the right kind of selection headaches for head coach Carl Veart.

United have traditionally lined up in a 4-3-3 formation but have adapted that during the game to a 4-4-2 with Mo Toure and Tomi Juric leading the line at times.  

Goodwin provides another quality option out on the wing and in his previous stint at the club, showed fans how adaptable his game is, something that host of PureBred Reds – Adelaide United Fan TV Ellis Gelios remembers fondly.

“He showed his tremendous versatility in the club’s Championship season, switching from fullback to left wing and producing numerous assists with his deadly left foot”, he recounted.

“Under Marco Kurz without a fit number nine available during the majority of the season, Goodwin well and truly peaked as the focal point of the Adelaide attack.”

Adelaide United started life under Carl Veart off with a bang, unbeaten across his first seven games in charge however two defeats in three games now has the side sitting just outside of the top six.

Goodwin’s signing improves them on the park but will also go a long way to drawing a crowd to Coopers stadium each week as fans have nothing but fond memories of the 29-year-old.

“Who could ever forget his 2018 FFA Cup Final man-of-the-match performance when he bagged two sensational goals?” Gelios said.

“If he can register half of the impact he made in 2018/19, United’s season will go from salvageable to potentially very profitable.

“We can only hope that the loan will become permanent in 2021/22.”

Picture: Adelaideunited.com.au

Goodwin is yet another Adelaide born player, something that has been a key focus since the start of Veart’s tenure as head coach.

A self-confessed United fan, Goodwin says he is excited to play in his home state once again.

“Unless the games were during training time, I watched pretty much every single game,” Goodwin said of the Reds 2021 campaign.

“I’m from Adelaide so first and foremost, I’m a United supporter.

“To be able to play for the club and represent them, wear the shirt and represent the people and the city is amazing for me.

“I’ve had good success with the club previously so I hope I can help bring some more success and hopefully some silverware come the end of the season.”

United fans will have to wait until the 19th of February for their talisman to be in contention for a third debut as he is currently serving out his mandatory two weeks quarantine.

“The club has been able to set me up with some exercise equipment, the treadmill arrives today,” Goodwin revealed.

“I’ve been running about the apartment, racking up the K’s by running around the couches and table and stuff.

“I’m lucky enough to have my partner Katelyn with me so that’s made it much more bearable.”

Goodwin will no doubt be cheering his new teammates on from his hotel room this Friday night as United travel to Central Coast to take on the table-topping Mariners.

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