Martin Rice: Torquay goalkeeper praised after full league debut

Torquay United manager Martin Ling has praised the performance of reserve goalkeeper Martin Rice after his full Football League debut.

Rice, 26, kept a clean and made a number of fine saves in the 0-0 draw at Oxford Utd after replacing injured first-choice custodian Michael Poke.

"I'm pleased for Martin because he's sat on that bench for an awful long time," Ling told BBC Radio Devon.

"He works his socks off in training, he's always out there."

Martin Rice

  • First-team debut for Exeter at Barnet in Conference in 2003
  • Joined Torquay in 2007
  • Left for Truro City in 2009
  • Re-joined Torquay in 2011
  • Makes first Football League start at Oxford in November 2011

Ling continued: "He's always willing to get into the goal and let lads shoot balls at him and I'm really pleased for him."

Rice re-joined Torquay in July last year after two seasons with Truro City.

He joined the club in in June 2007 after moving from rivals Exeter City, where he got his first professional deal in 2004.

Rice played 62 games for Exeter and 15 games for the Gulls in the Conference, FA Cup, League Cup and FA Trophy, before making his Football League debut.

Rice was in goal for Torquay's FA Trophy final defeat at Wembley by Ebbsfleet in 2009, but missed out on Exeter's Conference play-off loss to Morecambe in 2007.

He played his first Football league game on Tuesday when he came on as a substitute at Barnet for Poke - the ground where he played his first senior match in October 2003.

"It's been a long time coming, his full league debut. He's 26 now and he can be proud of himself," Ling said.

"Sometimes an opportunity comes along and people take it, and you have to make decisions.

"Ricey's done himself no harm with what he's put in front of me."