Friday, March 07, 2014

The boy Den Good

Congratulations to Curtis Good, who can now boast as many full international caps as he can first-team appearances for Newcastle. The 20-year-old defender, currently on loan at Dundee Utd, made his debut for Australia on Wednesday night in a friendly fixture against Ecuador, putting in a performance that the Guardian's reporter rated as "solid" and lasting 66 minutes before succumbing to a hip injury.

While England toiled to an uninspiring 1-0 win over Denmark at Wembley, the game across London at the New Den served up splendid entertainment. Good's side led 3-0 at the break, but by the time our man was withdrawn, Ecuador had pulled two goals back, the second a spot kick after Aussie 'keeper Mitch Langerak was sent off. The South American side went on to equalise and then, three minutes into stoppage time, to grab a dramatic winner after Good's replacement Alex Wilkinson was guilty of giving the ball away.

The knock and the final result didn't seem to take much gloss off the evening for Good, who gushed: "You dream about it your whole life - it's the absolute highlight of my career. I felt so confident out there." It will serve as vital big-game experience - not least because his previous taste of such an occasion ended in acute disappointment, when he was hauled off at half-time as Bradford lost 5-0 to Swansea in last season's League Cup final. Hopes are high that Good might one day be ready to step into the first team - but let's not forget the sad case of another promising young foreign defender, Tamas Kadar, who failed to live up to his considerable potential and is now back in his native Hungary.

While Good was turning out for the Socceroos, Mathieu Debuchy was busy playing all but the final three minutes of France's 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. Loic Remy and Moussa Sissoko both also appeared, though only from the bench.

Elsewhere, Papiss Cisse and Mr T were on international duty for Senegal and Ivory Coast respectively - the latter mustering an impressive 2-2 draw in Brussels against a Belgian side many people (myself included) fancy to be a real force over the next few years, though the game was most notable for a staggering miss by Villa's Christian Benteke.

Finally, Fergie got a welcome reminder of what it's like to lace up his boots, enjoying a spell as a substitute as Northern Ireland laboured to a stalemate in Cyprus. Much as I like Lee Clark and want him to do well, it's baffling as to why he's excluding our winger from his Birmingham squad. Leaving him twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines is doing no one any favours.

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