Although a syndesmosis injury has interrupted his preseason, Craig Goodwin looks set to appear in Adelaide United’s opening game against the Perth Glory.
Days before Adelaide faced the Brisbane Roar in last season’s elimination final, United’s winger suffered an ankle injury in training.
While Goodwin knew he would miss the remainder of the 2021 A-League Finals Series, the full extent of the setback came as a surprise.
“It has taken a little bit longer than first thought. Obviously, I had surgery on it at the end of last season but, I’m ready to go now” Goodwin told Kick360.
Adelaide’s hometown hero only featured once in the preseason but is hoping he will receive some playing time when the Reds face Perth in Round 1.
“I played 30 minutes against Brisbane but, that’s been the only minutes I’ve played,” he explained.
“I’m training consistently and hopefully, I’ll be ready to go for round one. Whether it’s starting, I don’t know, but I’ll probably come off the bench.”
Even though injuries are never ideal for a footballer, Goodwin has used the setback as an opportunity to spend time with his young family and connect with recovering teammates in the rehabilitation room.
“My partner and I had a baby boy, so I’ve been kept busy outside of football” Goodwin said.
“During the rehab, there’s been quite a few players doing their own [recovery].
“In particular, Nathan Konstandopoulos, who is doing his ACL rehab. He’s been able to help me with some advice and give me competition within the rehab training.”
Including the support from family and teammates, being sidelined at the end of last season has given him an extra level of determination while returning to full fitness.
“It [the injury] certainly gives me the motivation. Missing out on the finals series last year was disappointing,” Goodwin said.
“We fell one game short of the Grand Final and in my mind, that’s been my motivation for this season. We want to improve on that.
“I still have to get myself in a fully fit state but, that’s my motivation, thinking about what I missed out on last season.”
With a new campaign on the horizon, the South Australian star expressed his intent to regain the form he produced before suffering the injury.
“Last season, it was a decent return with eight goals and five assists in 18 games,” Goodwin said.
“I’m hoping to improve on the numbers I had last year but, for me, the most enjoyable part of coming back [to Adelaide] is always playing in front of a packed-out Coopers Stadium.
“It was a really nice change to get back to Australia [in 2021] and play in front of crowds again. It’s my hometown club Adelaide so, it’s always a nice feeling putting on a red shirt and playing for the fans.”
Despite several players from last season’s squad parting ways with the club, Goodwin is confident that Adelaide could go one step further and become A-League grand finalists in 2022.
“We did lose a couple of players from last year but, we have signed some as well,” He explained.
“Isaias coming back is a big one for us but I think we have the squad strength.
“I think we have the side to go one better than we did but, we also have to get our consistency right.”
After talking about his side’s finals aspirations, Goodwin also discussed the origins of his iconic ‘point to the sky’ goal celebration.
“It was a celebration I used when my grandma passed away a few years ago,” He revealed.
“There has also been family members and old coaches that have passed away over the years who helped me get to where I am.
“The celebration started as a tribute to my grandmother. Now, it’s a tribute to all the people who have passed on that meant a lot to me.”
United fans will hope to see more of Goodwin’s heartfelt celebration when he makes his way back onto the pitch in the coming weeks.
Image Supplied: Adelaide United