Sparta Rotterdam have been an ideal first European club for self-proclaimed "late developer" Craig Goodwin, who has earned immediate Eredivisie game time and a subsequent Caltex Socceroos call-up.
Goodwin has joined Ange Postecoglou's squad in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after playing in Sparta's 1-1 draw with AZ Alkmaar on Sunday, with the Australian winger notching his seventh appearance in Netherlands' top flight in his debut season.
It has been a strong start to life in Europe for the 24-year-old, who chose newly-promoted Sparta over a couple of other Dutch clubs after helping Adelaide United win the Hyundai A-League double in 2015-16.
"I've always been a bit of a late developer - didn't make my debut until I was 20 - and for me coming over now, I feel I'm at a good age and I feel that I've come to a club where I have a chance to play and I have a chance to prove myself," Goodwin told Goal Australia.
"I feel if I come over at this age and I'm sitting on the bench every week or playing for the second team every week - at 24 - I don't think that's the best thing for me."
Sparta won the Eerste Divisie championship last season and have resumed life in the Dutch first division in impressive fashion, winning three and drawing two of their opening eight matches to sit eighth in the table.
Goodwin has quickly settled into Alex Pastoor's side, starting four of his seven games as a left winger, while he already has a goal and two assists.
Having played the last six minutes of Australia's 2-1 friendly loss to England in May, the Adelaide-born flyer is looking forward to another chance with the Socceroos over the next fortnight as they visit Saudi Arabia and host Japan on the road to Russia 2018.
"[Being involved against England] gave me a real goal to strive for after coming to Europe and to be included in the World Cup qualifiers is a massive honour," Goodwin said.
"So it has been a reasonable start to life in Holland but it's early doors yet."
Goodwin played a key role in Adelaide's premiership-championship double last term, notching four goals and four assists in 26 matches to win the Aurelio Vidmar Medal as the Reds' club champion.
Having played as both a winger and a left-back under Guillermo Amor, Goodwin is glad to be focusing on the attacking side of his game with Sparta.
"If Ange says that that's the position he sees me in, then that's the position I want to play as well to try and crack into this national team," he said.
Goodwin added: "We play a 4-3-3 but it's a little bit different [to Adelaide] in terms of the style and the way we go about it.
"So for our system, it's a 4-3-3 when we have the ball and when we don't have the ball we play more of a 4-4-2 when defending and try to get compact, which I guess is a little bit different to what we played at Adelaide.
"Also when we have the ball, the wingers - my role is a little bit different as well. It's a little bit more playing inside and between the lines, whereas at Adelaide it was more staying wide and getting yourself into one-v-one situations.
"Here it's a little bit more of a free role, especially in the final third."
Goodwin has made three appearances for the Socceroos ahead of Australia's next World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
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