Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic has heralded Craig Goodwin’s stellar debut performance as a triumph of the Club’s youth-focused philosophy.
Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic has heralded Craig Goodwin-s stellar debut performance as a triumph of the Club-s youth-focused philosophy.
Goodwin, 20, joined the growing band of Heart youngsters taking the competition by storm when he became the eighth player to make his Hyundai A-League debut in Red and White, joining the likes of Eli Babalj, Brendan Hamill and Curtis Good.
While Goodwin is hardly the first precocious talent to establish his bona fides with a breathtaking debut display, it was the nature of his performance which drew accolades.
The former Victorian Premier League star-s transition into the starting eleven was seamless, integrating into his role with absolute ease as his combination play appeared to indicate a level of familiarity which was in fact lacking.
Indeed, Goodwin-s stunning performance provided an affirmation of the system and overarching tactical framework which acts as a blueprint and is now embedded in the Heart DNA.
“(The success of Craig-s introduction) has a lot to do with our philosophy as well," Milicic said.
"What John (van 't Schip) has brought over from Holland is that when a position is available then you look at making a straight swap from the youth team.
"We had the option of maybe Curtis Good playing out there and bringing in Brendan Hamill with (Simon) Colosimo.
"But you look at the youth team and the way he has been playing - you just go with the direct swap.”
Milicic praised Goodwin-s assured performance in front of a sell out AAMI Park crowd, stating his training displays over the previous fortnight had the Club-s coaching staff to lamenting the decision not to introduce him into the senior fray sooner.
"I didn't expect him to play that well,” he said.
"Last week we got him to train with us and we thought, 'Gee, it would have been nice if he'd come off the bench in an earlier game or been part of the travelling squad'.
"But to start in such a big game was amazing and I think the game really panned out well for him. He really did a lot better than was expected of him in his first game.”