Craig Goodwin's time is now. After turning down an offer from Sydney FC in the off-season to return to Adelaide United, the lanky left-footer knows he has to dominate the A-League to cement himself as one of the country's best attacking players and realise his burning Socceroos ambitions.
Sky Blues fans will be seeing a lot of Goodwin over the next couple of weeks – first, in Friday night's season opener at Coopers Stadium, then in the FFA Cup final at the same venue on October 30.
On the evidence of the pre-season, he is ready to take the competition by the scruff of the neck. The 26-year-old has scored three goals in three FFA Cup matches – including an absolute stunner against APIA Leichhardt last month.
Born and bred in South Australia, the creature comforts of home seem to be treating Goodwin well after his promising European stint turned suddenly sour.
"I feel like I'm coming into my prime and I need to be somewhere I'm playing consistently and getting the best out of my football," Goodwin said. "I didn't really feel like I was at an age where I can slog it out for a couple of years in Europe and not play. If I was a bit younger, maybe you can afford to.