Goodwin keen to kick on under Gombau

Craig Goodwin is keen to maintain his resurgence under coach Josep Gombau when he comes up against Sydney FC this weekend in the second A-League semi-final.

Goodwin has enjoyed a stunning debut season with the Reds since joining from Newcastle Jets on the eve of the 2014-2015 campaign.

The winger/fullback has missed just one game for Adelaide this season, and bagged five goals and two assists along the way.

Goodwin’s stunning free-kick on Friday helped the Reds overcome Brisbane Roar in the first round of the finals.

The 23-year told FourFourTwo he has been enjoying his time at Cooper Stadium under Gombau.

“I’ve been very happy with how I’ve been playing,” Goodwin said.

“I’ve featured in every game so far this season and I’ve started in the majority of those so it’s been great to have a good impact for the team.

“To be able to start in every game and for the team to be doing as well as we are is obviously a real confidence-booster for myself.

“We have had a fantastic season and hopefully we can start again against Sydney and go one step further to the Grand Final.

“I find he (Gombau) definitely gives me a lot of confidence and I would say it’s the same for all the other boys and the younger ones in the team.

“It has been a good year for quite a few of the younger players. Awer’s (Mabil) been fantastic. We definitely have a coach that instils confidence in all the players.”

Goodwin said his move from the Jets last year was, in part, about being a member of a team that plays an entertaining and attacking brand of football.

“My main reason for the move was, one, coming back – I’d been away for about four years,” the South Australian product said.

“(And) I felt that Adelaide United’s style and play suited me more as a player.

“This year has been a good year for me and I’ve been able to be part of some of the great play. We do play some amazing football at times. Just being able to play in a side that plays some of the best football competition is great.

“Obviously (the move) has come with more game time as well, compared to last season."

Goodwin is expecting a tough battle with the Sky Blues on their home turf on Saturday.

"They finished second, three points behind Victory,” he said.

“I think all the games we played against Sydney this year have been tough games. Although we haven’t lost them, this year, it’s been tight affairs and we’ve just managed to get the wins.

“Heading into this one it’s going to be a very different game. It’s hard to say really (if the past results will matter), I wouldn’t say it gives us extra confidence. We know we can beat any team on our day.

“Obviously it’s not something we look at and go ‘oh we have a great record against them, we’re going to win’. We have to go into the game like any other, it’s a massive, massive game.

“A semi-final and we have to be on our A game and everyone has to be switched on and be 100% and do their job at every moment of the game.”

Goodwin’s free-kick goal against the Roar caught the eye and the attacker said he has continued to work hard on his set-piece delivery in training throughout the campaign.

“I’m obviously very happy to score a goal like that in such a big game to help us progress,” he said.

“I do practice quite a lot, all year and all season beforehand as well. It’s just something that practice in training sessions, my set pieces in and around the box, because being a great football team as we are we also need to be able to create chances from dead ball situations, which we get a lot of.

“For me taking corners and free kicks, it’s key to practice these situations. If I get the opportunity hopefully I can put another one in. We’ll just have to wait and see if we get other opportunities on Saturday.”

Goodwin made his debut for the Olyroos in 2012 and picked up two caps for the Socceroos in 2013 under Holger Osieck. The former Melbourne City man is keen to keep improving to force his way back into that international fold.

“I was in the Socceroos for that East Asian Cup tournament, playing two games, which was an amazing achievement for myself,” Goodwin said.

“But this season has really been about re-establishing myself and trying to make a mark on the league. I feel I’m starting to do that and obviously to make the Socceroos is the highest aspiration that I have.

“To play in a World Cup for the Socceroos would be amazing. It’s an ongoing thing, just trying to put in get performances week-by-week with Adelaide and should the opportunity come knocking then that’d be something that I’d take on with great pride.

“But I’m just focusing on Adelaide United for now I guess.”

The Munno Para City and Adelaide Rangers junior also went on a two-week trial to English Championship club Reading in April last year. Goodwin was not offered a deal but securing a spot abroad in the future remains one of his goals.

“Growing up I always wanted to play overseas and I did have that trial at Reading after that first year at Newcastle, which I performed quite well in,” he said.

“It was a good taste of the quality in Europe, in England, and it is something I’m definitely trying to achieve. I think next season in the A-League will be crucial. If I can have a very good year then who knows what can happen.”

As for his former club, Newcastle Jets, Goodwin is predicting better things ahead next season.

"Obviously it’s been a very tough year for Newcastle," he said.

“You saw halfway through the year when they had that cleanout of players, there was a big change there and a lot of problems for them on and off the field.

“But I think the back end of the season they performed admirably and definitely I think finished off the season with some pride. I can see next season being a decent year for the Jets.”