John Goddard: Swindon Town signing 'became a man' in non-league

John Goddard
John Goddard joined Woking in 2013 and made 92 league starts over three seasons

Swindon Town midfielder John Goddard feels he "earned his stripes" playing non-league football before he joined the League One club this summer.

The 23-year-old, who netted 17 times in 41 games for Woking last term, signed for an undisclosed fee in May.

The former Reading trainee played for National League South Hayes & Yeading after leaving the Royals in 2012.

"I enjoyed my time at Reading. It didn't quite work out though, so I moved on," Goddard told BBC Wiltshire.

"Reading were successful which meant a few of us younger boys were let go and had to ply our trade elsewhere. I found myself in non-league, played for Hayes for a little bit and earned my stripes as a footballer.

"I had to learn the game and become a bit of a man."

Goddard scored against his old club in a pre-season friendly at the County Ground on Tuesday, giving Swindon a first-half lead before Reading fought back to win 2-1.

"Now I'm lucky enough to get a chance here at Swindon and I'm hoping to do well," he added.

"Once I spoke to a few people at the football club, it was a no-brainer for me (to join). Everyone at the club has helped me settle in so easily, it feels like I have been here for a little while already."

The former England C international could face another of his old clubs, Woking, in Saturday's pre-season game.

Swindon host Coventry City in their opening League One match of the season on 6 August.

Town midfielder Yaser Kasim could be set to miss that match after being called up for Iraq, who face Qatar in an international friendly on 8 August.

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