The centre-half, who earlier this week joined Sheffield United on loan until the end of the season, fields questions on football, the motivations behind the move and of course tomorrow’s match at Birmingham City with the ease of someone who has been doing this for years as undertakes his first official interview since leaving Brentford. But not so long ago, Goode spent his afternoons working for the family business after being told he was too small to make the grade.
“I was just helping out really,” Goode continues, describing his days fitting blinds across north London and Hertfordshire. “Which, looking back, was probably just as well because I was still playing in non-league and taking so much time off to go training. If I hadn’t been doing for us, well, there’s probably no way I’d have been allowed to knock off early or anything like that. So I’m lucky that I was.
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“It was long days and late nights back then. We did a few jobs for some pretty famous people living in the area. Every now and then you’d turn up and think ‘I know you!’ so that was pretty good. But, seriously, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for as there’s no way in the world I’d have been able to spend so much time doing other things if I was employed by someone else. No way at all.”
NO GLORY BUT LOTS OF GUTS
Discarded by Fulham as a youngster - “I was always getting turned away from clubs because they reckoned I wasn’t tall enough” - Goode, who now stands six feet five inches tall, drifted into non-league after leaving Craven Cottage; representing Harefield, Hadley and Hayes before pitching up at Hendon. It was there, after helping them beat Tooting and Mitcham in the London Senior Cup final, when, as Goode puts it, “the phone began to ring.”
Later that summer, in 2015, he agreed a switch to Scunthorpe. But it wasn’t until then Northampton Town manager Keith Curle decided to take a punt on his services, that Goode began to realise his potential - capturing the imagination of Thomas Frank and Brenford’s world renowned recruitment department after captaining his former club to success in the League Two play-off final. Goode, who won promotion from the Championship during his first season under the Dane, still counts the former United defender as one of his biggest inspirations alongside his father Graham and brothers Ben and Steve.
“Playing for those clubs in non-league, it did make a real difference for me,” Goode says. “For smaller clubs, every single result makes such a big difference and because of that, you can’t get away with anything. You have to be able to stand up for yourself and be aggressive out there on the pitch.
“I was a young lad but I was playing against grown men every single week. It was direct and aggressive. There’s lots of people out there who don’t have that experience but it taught me a lot about fighting your corner.”
WHY GOODE GOT THE NOD
Paul Heckingbottom cited Goode’s upbringing as one of the reasons he was chosen above all the other candidates vying to fill the vacancy which existed at the heart of United’s rearguard until Monday’s transfer deadline.
“It shows character, the way he’s built a career, to come right back through the levels after having a set-back.”
Aged 26 and now with six Premier League appearances under his belt, Goode believes it explains why he enjoys the “old fashioned” side of his job every bit as much as bringing the ball out from the back.
“Defending. At the end of the day, that’s what defenders are there to do. In the modern game, we’ve got to be more technical than perhaps was the case in the past. And I enjoy that side of things, definitely. But I also like to get down to it, get aggressive, and I still think there’s a huge place for that. I don’t think that aspect of what we do has ever changed. There’s still a time when you have to front things up as far as I’m concerned.
And that’s what I was brought up doing. You’d have never have got away with not doing that playing alongside some of the players I did coming through. They just wouldn’t have accepted it and, being perfectly honest again, I think that’s quite right as well. It’s definitely where my mentality comes from. You’ve got to be ready to put your body on the line and that’s where I get it from.”
‘I’VE ALWAYS ADMIRED THE BLADES’
Confessing to developing something of a soft spot for United as they rose through the divisions under Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder, rapidly climbing from League One to the top-flight before being relegated last season, Goode is excited by the prospect of joining a team which has been on a similar journey to himself.
“You know what, even over the past few years I’ve been a bit of a fan of the club,” he says. “I played against us with Scunthorpe in League One and to see them come up and through - amazing. I feel I can do a job in all three of those positions across the back. I’ve got a bit of a long throw and that might cause some problems too. I’m looking forward to getting started and I already feel really at home here.”