Aaron Mooy’s middle name is Frank.
Frank. Dependable. Humble. Whistles-and-gives-you-a-quick-wave-while-mowing-his-lawn. Frank. Frank doesn’t scream professional footballer, especially not one born in the naughty nineties.
Frank belongs to the bygone days of the ’60s and 70’s, when Rijkaard, Leboeuf and Lampard were born. No one would be twee enough to call a future Premier League footballer Frank these days.
But Aaron Frank Mooy isn’t your archetypal Premier League footballer. Far from it.
Having resisted the temptations of Aussie rules, cricket, tennis, rugby union and rugby league growing up, Mooy moved 10,500 miles from Sydney to Bolton as a teenager in search of a distant top-flight dream.
Four years spent at Bolton Wanderers, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Nicolas Anelka and Ivan Campo, resulted in exactly zero minutes of Premier League football and, in 2012, having spent two years in Paisley playing for St Mirren, Mooy returned home.
Far from settling into a life of laying on goals for Adam le Fondre, Francis Jeffers and Emile Heskey in the A-League, Mooy spent the next four years perfecting his craft with Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City before returning the the Premier League.
Six unlikely days as a top-flight footballer with Man City were ended when Mooy joined Championship side Huddersfield Town on loan, thus starting a series loans-made-permanent that now sees the 29-year-old firmly established in the Premier League with Brighton.
Having spent the last three years mixing it up with the creme dela creme of midfielders in The Best League In The World™, Mooy’s talent and ability can not be called into question.
But there’s something about the way in which Mooy’s goes about his business that makes him such an endearing edition to English football. Mooy- and this is by no means a criticism- makes the spectacular look boring.
There’s something about Mooy that makes you think, ‘yeah, I could probably do that’, which, it goes without saying, you couldn’t. Maybe it’s his rock-solid technique. Maybe it’s his lack of explosive speed. It’s intangible and unquantifiable, but it’s there, accompanying Mooy’s every move.
Take the way Mooy lit up Brighton’s otherwise dour 2-0 win against Bournemouth in December. With three touches he guided Leandro Trossard’s chest-high poke past Aaron Ramsdale and into the top corner.
The manner in which he took the goal was completely routine. Chest, outside of the foot, shot. Nothing flashy or tricky. Another goal that’ll soon be lost to the endless churning of The Premier League Years, to be half-remembered on a hungover Sunday in 2025.
It’s only upon further inspection that you realise Mooy’s goal was straight out of Dennis Bergkamp’s playbook.
Because of his significant speed of thought and football IQ, Mooy possesses the ability to bring a Premier League game down to his pace. At times, that pace can lull your brain into thinking that he’s just another one of those midfielders.
Mooy is the everyman hero. The ease with which he navigates the cacophony of top-flight football convinces you it’s easy, this Premier League lark. Maybe, just maybe, if you got on an extreme fitness regime and that troublesome knee finally cleared up you might just be able to make it.
In truth, it takes a special player to make the spectacular look routine.
Aaron Frank Mooy. Proof that you should never judge a footballer by his middle name.
READ MORE FROM THE WORLD OF DREAM TEAM:
- Gabriel Martinelli brings a timely dose of nostalgic cheer to stuttering Arsenal
- Ranking Arsenal’s centre-backs of the last decade on pure comedy value
- Fred is quietly making up for Kleberson’s lost time