15:15 12 January 2022
Dean Moxey has just joined professional football’s exclusive 600-game club, and the achievement has prompted Torquay United manager Gary Johnson to highlight how much he appreciates the 35-year-old defender.
Moxey’s checkered career has included two spells in his hometown of Exeter City (309 apps) and one each in Derby County, Crystal Palace, where he played a season in the Premier League, Bolton Wanderers and Torquay, and four specials.
His transfer fee totaled nearly £1million.
He moved to the Gulls in the summer of 2020, will turn 36 on January 14, and a string of recent polished performances aren’t those of a man thinking about retirement.
Moxey may not be the most demonstrative player on matchdays, but Johnson said: “He’s a very influential figure, in training and in the dressing room.
“Dean won’t yell and yell at people in front of a crowd, but he’ll speak his mind in practice and he’ll always take someone aside and have a quiet word with them.”
Although he was once a left midfielder with an eye for goal – he scored 24 goals in his first spell at St James Park – Moxey has become better known as a left back, albeit a striker .
He has always been very capable as a left centre-back, where he played towards the end of his second spell at Exeter, and since Johnson moved him there this season it has seemed like an ideal role for him.
He has an elegant left foot, can tackle, direct the ball, his tactical awareness often allows him to stay one step ahead of opposing attackers and, of course, he has a dangerous long throw.
“Dean will play wherever you ask him to play,” Johnson said.
“He certainly doesn’t mind playing as a centre-back – he’s decent in the air, reads the game so well and has the pace of guys like Joe (Lewis), Ben (Wynter) and young Dan Martin around him.
“He’s a very big player for us these days.”
Moxey, who delivered one of his best performances for Torquay in the 3-0 home win over Yeovil Town on Boxing Day, suffered a cut to his right ankle in the first half of the 2- 1 New Years when returning to Huish Park.
It was typical of him that he stayed on the pitch for up to 20 minutes to play.