By DARRELL LOVELL
It is the words all U.S. Men’s National Team fans wanted to hear: Stuart Holden is officially back.
The popular central midfielder returned to first team action for Bolton Tuesday going 16 minutes in a 2-0 win over EPL side Sunderland in an FA Cup replay. The quarter-hour plus was the first time the midfielder has seen since appearing in a League Cup match April 20th, 2012 against Aston Villa, which prompted surgery on his knee just eight days later.
Holden, who signed with Bolton in 2010 after starring with the Houston Dynamo, has been on the slow road to recovery since initially injuring the knee in March of 2011 when he was on the receiving end of a Jonny Evans tackle. Since, Holden has gone back and forth between the US and England to get the proper rehab for his knee.
The midfielder has been making significant progress since the beginning of the year, highlighted by 65 minutes in reserve league action last week.
That performance was enough to enticed boss Dougie Freedman to include him in FA action. With the successful appearance behind him, the next step is for Holden to get back into the team on a full-time basis as the Wanderers look to climb back into the English top flight.
Encouraged by Holden’s progress? Are you ready to earmark a Gold Cup spot for him already? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.