In-form Newcastle leftback Craig Goodwin says his dream to play in Europe is still alive despite penning a new deal with the Jets until 2016 this week.
The 22-year-old two-time Socceroo’s extension comes after a good run of form which has seen him become a regular over the past two months and scoring a brace against Wellington Phoenix earlier this month.
Goodwin had a difficult start to the 2013-14 campaign after a month-long trial with then-Premier League club Reading, along with the Socceroos' East Asian Cup campaign last July, left him fatigued on his return to Jets pre-season, he admitted.
While Goodwin was unable to win a deal with the Royals, he insisted his new Jets extension doesn't mean he’s given up on his European dream.
“That dream is definitely still alive,” Goodwin told fourfourtwo.com.
“If I can put in the hard yards and put in some excellent performances with Newcastle, it’s still there for me.”
Goodwin revealed Reading’s relegation from the top flight affected his chances of winning a deal, but that the club had kept tabs on his progress.
“They said they’d monitor how I’m going and if I’m doing really well, there’s definitely the possibility I can go back over,” Goodwin said.
“At this stage I haven’t spoken to them as much as I would’ve liked because the season didn’t start well but things are starting to look up.
“I’m getting better and better, I got two goals against Wellington and I got a couple of assists.”
The Jets have previously sold young on-contract players, such as James Holland, to European clubs and Goodwin knows the club won’t stand in his way.
“That’s one of the great things about the club,” he said. “They want to look after the club’s interests, but they also have the player’s best interests at heart as well, allowing players to go overseas.”
And Goodwin’s experience with Reading has him believing he can make the grade in Europe.
“When I was over there, I found out I wasn’t very far away from that standard at all,” he said.
“Originally my trial was only two weeks but they extended it another two-three weeks. I went really well there.
“(Manager) Nigel Adkins said he was very happy with me. I was told if they’d stayed in the Premier League they’d have looked to have taken me on as a development player.”
Goodwin received other feedback from Reading such as the need to work on the defensive side of his game, which he’ll continue to do at the Jets.
He said the main factors in his decision to stay at Hunter Stadium was the club's exciting and youthful playing group and their loyal supporters, ignoring concerns about the uncertain coaching position with current boss Clayton Zane in the role only on an interim basis.
“There was a point where I wasn’t having the best of times and I questioned whether I needed to stay or go,” Goodwin admitted.
“I looked at it and felt I’m happy here, I do like the playing staff, I need to put in the hard yards and things will pick up eventually.”