Van 't Schip Praises Goodwin Debut

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has heaped praise on debutant Craig Goodwin following his stellar performance in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has heaped praise on debutant Craig Goodwin following his stellar performance in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night.

The Heart youth vice-captain earned a call-up to the Red and White-s Hyundai A-League side for the cross town blockbuster, replacing Aziz Behich, who was selected to the Australian Under 23s for its 2012 London Olympic qualifiers in Tashkent and Doha.

Starting at left back, Goodwin scarcely looked out of place, belying his lack of experience with a stellar performance in front of a sell-out crowd, producing a man of the match display to earn widespread plaudits for his performance.

With Goodwin, 20, having only made the transition to National Youth League football from the Victorian Premier League this season, it casts his debut in an even more impressive light, serving to highlight the extent of his meteoric rise.

Delighted with his performance, van ‘t Schip admitted his surprise at Goodwin-s seamless transition to Heart-s first team, with the South Australian only joining the senior side in training a fortnight ago.

“I think he played very well. I was probably surprised he did that well,” he said.

“But knowing his qualities, knowing his touch, his cross, his mobility, it was not that I had doubts about him. The first game is often where things can work out very well.”

With Heart looking to fill the void at left back in Behich-s absence, van ‘t Schip toyed with the possibility of shifting teenager Curtis Good out wide, enabling Brendan Hamill to join Simon Colosimo in the centre of defence.

However, comfortable with Goodwin-s level of maturity, van ‘t Schip opted to minimise the level of disruption likely to be caused by a complete defensive reshuffle, installing the former Oakleigh Cannon at full back in a like-for-like swap.

Goodwin-s familiarity with van ‘t Schip-s preferred 4-3-3 system undoubtedly eased his transition into the first team in a testament to the merits of Heart-s overarching tactical philosophy, which is implemented identically across both the Hyundai A-League and National Youth League sides.

“It wasn't a difficult choice because we have seen him all year now (in the NYL). He's making very good progress,” van ‘t Schip said.

“Where I come from, we always try to make it simple and when one left full back or is injured, we look at the next one, who is playing at a lower level. If he is not good enough or not ready then we will not take him.

"We had the impression that Goodwin was ready to play, even though it was a big game."

Van ‘t Schip revealed Goodwin was under consideration to make the trip to Wellington last week, but ultimately provided the youngster an additional week-s preparation in lieu of Behich-s unavailability due to international duty.

"Before the Wellington game I said he had to prepare himself to play this game. Three days ago, I more or less let him know that the chance was there for him to play," van 't Schip said.

"The other boys helped him a lot in feeling okay the last few days, in the game and through the game."