Caltex Socceroo’s sparkling Sparta form in Eredivisie

Craig Goodwin at his unveiling at Sparta Rotterdam.

Craig Goodwin rated his second-half cameo for Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday as possibly his best in the Eredivisie, with the Caltex Socceroos winger notching a goal and an assist to secure a 2-2 draw.

Sparta trailed 1-0 to visiting Willem II when Goodwin came off the bench at Sparta Stadion and the hosts fell even further behind in the 65th minute when Spanish striker Fran Sol struck his second goal for the visitors.

But Goodwin wrestled the momentum back for Sparta just four minutes later, sliding in to poke Finn Stokkers’ cross into the net.

 

It was the Australian’s second league goal since joining the Dutch club for the 2016-17 campaign, and Goodwin completed an impressive display when he cut the ball back for Thomas Verhaar to equalise in the 90th minute.

Fellow Australian Kenny Dougall played 90 minutes in midfield for Sparta.

“Since I’ve come to the Netherlands I feel I’m getting better with each game I play,” Goodwin told Goal Australia following the draw.

“I feel I’ve had a good start to the season and it’s great to be able to help the team, but it certainly was a great team effort to come back from two goals down to secure a point.”

The 24-year-old added: “Obviously it’s really nice to have an impact for the team and that’s what I try to do, whether I’m in the starting XI or on the bench, I try to impact the game as much as I can for the team.”

Having joined Sparta after helping Adelaide United win the A-League double last season, Goodwin has started strongly with two goals and three assists in eight Eredivisie appearances.

That form prompted a call-up to the Caltex Socceroos for the World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan this month, and although Goodwin failed to get on the pitch, he was thrilled to be back in the national set-up.

“Every time I’ve gone into the Socceroos camps I feel I’ve come away from it learning a lot from the coaching staff and the players around me, and most of all being in that environment you just want to be there for the next camp,” he said.

 

“So I’ve certainly come away with more determination to be back and to push for game time with the Socceroos.”

Goodwin has made three appearances for Australia’s senior side with the last one coming off the bench against England in May.

 

Football Federation Australia

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