After the announcement of this evenings starting XI, Luke Joyce will make his 500th appearance in the Football League against Exeter City and the ever-professional midfielder spoke about how proud he is to achieve this landmark in his career.
With the English midfielder making his 500th appearance tonight we look back over Joyce’s career, a career he describes as being so proud to achieve.
Joyce began his career in the Bolton Wanderers academy, aged eight but was released a few years later. The midfielders career was only just beginning however as he was soon picked up by Premier League Wigan Athletic in 2003 after spending time captaining the Wigan school’s team.
He is “massively proud” when looking back on his first-team debut for Wigan in the FA Cup, coming on as a sub against Leeds United.
After the game, manager Paul Jewell praised Joyce for his attitude on the pitch and in training. 500 football league games later and Joyce is still being commended for those same qualities.
Dave Kevan praised Joyce for being a “fantastic professional” and spoke about how important he is at the club for the younger players, as he acts as a “great example” on and off the pitch.
Joyce did not get the chance to feature again for the Lactics, and in 2006 the young Joyce earnt a move to Carlisle United where he would score the first goal of his career as the Cumbrians defeated Gillingham 5-0.
As a defensive playmaker in the heart of midfield, Joyce is not known for his goal scoring, but has 15 goals registered to his name across his career.
Joyce made 16 appearances in his first season at Carlisle but found opportunities rare the following year, playing just three games, also finding the net once.
In order to get more game time under his belt, Joyce went out on two loans the following season, first to Barrow and then Northwich Victoria.
Speaking about his time on loan out of the football league he said: “It makes you realise how lucky you are to be in the league, it’s a real tough standard down there.”
The 32 year old described his time at Northwich as “vital” as it was there that was where he was spotted by Accrington Stanley, where Joyce would move to permanently the following season.
Stanley was where Joyce would spend the longest period of his career, representing them 246 times becoming an integral part to the side and a fan favourite and in 2012, became the club’s new captain.
After spending six years at the Crown Ground, Joyce moved on, returning to his previous club Carlisle United in 2015.
“There are plenty of highlights, getting in the play-offs with Carlisle and Accrington was a big achievement.”
One day being part of a side that gains a promotion is a goal for Joyce who said he’d be “chuffed to have a promotion” on his CV.
Just like he had been at Accrington, Joyce became a central figure at Brunten Park and in October 2016 won the League Two goal of the month award for a long-range strike against Crawley Town.
After two seasons at Carlisle, Joyce made his move to Vale Park where he remains today, acting as an integral cog in the Vale midfield, providing security to the centre-backs and using his passing skills to start attacks.
Joyce has received many plaudits from both the Vale staff and fans for his work on the field every week, where he continues to create more “fantastic memories.”