Having returned to A-League action since his ill-fated European adventure, Curtis Good says he’s now ready to make a first league start in almost five years.
Good made a late outing for Melbourne City on Sunday in their 3-0 win over Newcastle Jets.
It was an innocuous three-minute substitute appearance, lost in the result and the ongoing Bruno Fornaroli saga.
But for Good, it was momentous; his first taste of league football since running out at Edinburgh’s Easter Road in February 2014 for Dundee United. “I was most emotional when I arrived at the stadium as it’s my first time being involved with this squad,” he told AAP.
“Just being in a change room again. It brought back a lot of memories.” Good began his career at Melbourne Heart, impressing enough to earn a six-year deal with English heavyweights Newcastle United.
Two years and two loan deals into his contract, he earned a first Socceroos cap – but on debut for Australia he suffered a hip injury that would derail his promising career.
The rest is unfortunate history for the 25-year-old, as he lurched from surgery to surgery in an attempt to find fitness.
He said a string of surgeries hit not just his physical condition but his mental health.
“After the third one I really started questioning why I was there. Was it worth it?” he said.
“You go into the club not to play football but to watch the team train. “I got a lot of help from the club and I needed it. It’s not a great experience and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.” Good said the combination of his injury and a new manager – Champions League winner Rafael Benitez – put the writing on the wall.
He was given a chance in an FA Cup match in January last year, but an experimental side lost 3-0 to Oxford United.
Spending time in the reserves as his contract ticked down, Good found risk- averse European clubs unwilling to take a chance on him, and so he returned home.
Under Joyce, Good was been placed on a strict conditioning program that has paid dividends.
“I got to the stage where I felt like it was just important to get back playing football again,” he said.
“I knew this was going to be a perfect environment and this is where I knew I could get back.
“Now I’m ready.
“It is a relief to come in and purely just train, play football and not having other worries.
““I’m coming in, working every day and waiting for an opportunity.”