Charlie Goode: From fitting blinds to Premier League - Inside track on Brentford's Sheffield United target

Sheffield United’s search for central defensive reinforcements will end one way or another today, with Brentford’s Charlie Goode the latest name to be linked with a switch to Bramall Lane before tonight’s 11pm deadline.

The Brentford defender has made six Premier League appearances this season, but hasn’t featured since mid-December after picking up a hamstring injury and has reportedly been given the green light to leave on loan this window.

He may not be a player well-known to many Blades fans, but his story to the Premier League is a remarkable one…

Solid grounding

Goode is a product of Brentford’s rivals Fulham’s academy, but was released at 15 years old because he was too SMALL – despite eventually growing to 6ft 5in.

Goode, an Arsenal fan who idolised Thierry Henry, was originally a striker in his younger days before switching to right-back, where he was deemed not tall enough for Fulham. Both his dad and brother Ben, also a footballer, are well over six feet tall.

Goode instead turned to non-league football, working in the family business fitting electrical blinds around training and playing for Harefield United’s U18s, Hadley – in the 10th tier of English football – and AFC Hayes.

Charlie Goode of Brentford is a target for Sheffield United (George Wood/Getty Images)

The big break

Goode joined his brother Ben, a goalkeeper, in the Southern Football League Division One Central and they finished 18th in his first season, before Hendon were tipped off about the giant centre-half’s potential.

Now in the Isthmian League Premier Division with Hendon, Goode blossomed and was destined for bigger things. Goode lost in their play-offs in 2015 and knew the defender was on the move; scouts from several clubs higher up the foodchain had been to watch him in action and it was Scunthorpe United, then in League One, who made their move.

Emmanuel Dennis of Watford FC battles for possession with Charlie Goode of Brentford (Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

The inside track

“In truth, Charlie Goode’s ongoing career in the Premier League and at the top end of the Championship with both Brentford and possibly Sheffield United has been one long and effective exercise in proving the majority of Scunthorpe fans wrong,” Max Bell, a columnist at the Scunthorpe Telegraph, told The Star.

“When we signed him from Hendon, aged just 19, maybe it was a case of it being too much too soon for the young centre-half. Goode played 64 league games for the Iron over his four-year spell, but few of us in North Lincolnshire envisioned him as a high-quality, top-level centre-half.

Charlie Goode during his time at Northampton Town, where he worked under former Blade Keith Curle (Pete Norton/Getty Images)

“But Goode certainly wasn’t the first centre-half we failed to see the full potential of and no doubt won’t be the last. When he went to Northampton, for a low, undisclosed fee, few were devastated to see him go.

“The spell with the Cobblers seems to have transformed him, as he now has the aerial aggressiveness and physical dominance that his 6ft 5in frame had always invited.”

Transformed under former Blade Curle

Goode worked under Keith Curle, the former Blades defender and coach, after moving to Northampton Town and he earned them a fee in the region of £1m when Brentford took him to Griffin Park.

Brentford notoriously use a stats-driven approach to their recruitment, using data in an attempt to sign players that would traditionally go under the radar at other clubs.

Goode was named Curle’s club captain during his time at Northampton – with a number of managers who he worked under earlier in his career paying tribute to his leadership abilities – and he captained the Cobblers to promotion via the League Two play-offs in 2020.

Why hasn’t it worked out at Brentford?

A series of injuries and an unspecified medical illness restricted Goode to a handful of appearances during Brentford’s promotion season last year, with the defender describing it as the most difficult period of his career.

And after the Bees reached the Premier League they splashed out on two new centre-halves in Kristoffer Ajer and Mathias Jorgensen, pushing Goode further down the pecking order.

But he made his Premier League debut in November, in a 2-1 home defeat to Norwich, and has eight appearances under his belt this season. He’s under contract there until 2024, with an option for a further season, and Brentford will be keen to see him push for game-time if and when he leaves on loan this window.

Anything else we need to know?

For a player his height it would be a surprise if he wasn’t aerially dominant, and Goode also possesses a dangerous long throw – which would be a bonus weapon for the Blades, in case Jack Robinson isn’t on the pitch.

Scunthorpe expert Bell also reports that Goode seems to “particularly thrive in a back three” – the system that the Blades have returned to under Paul Heckingbottom.

“Goode’s comparative lack of pace definitely let him down at times at Scunthorpe - but with experience comes a greater positional and game-reading liability that makes that less of an issue,” Bell added.

“He seems to particularly thrive in back three, which was admittedly something we never tried with him in the side at Scunny.

“We wish him the very best of luck at Bramall Lane if he signs and if he shows some of the flashes of quality he has at Brentford in particular - then he may well be ‘the one who got away’.”