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Holden inching closer to return, will feature for Bolton reserves

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Stuart Holden can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

As he nears the end of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury, Holden will take the field on Monday with the Bolton reserves for his first game in more than seven months. Bolton Wanderers head coach Dougie Freeman announced the news on Friday, saying that all Holden needs now is some match fitness.

“Stuart will be involved on Monday,” Freeman told Bolton’s website. “In training I’m seeing a player who is ready to go, but right now he needs game time. There’s a slight change in his running movements and he’s looking fit and well and it is great to have him back amongst the group.

“It’ll be a good game for him with it being at the Reebok, on a good playing surface.”

Holden’s last competitive match came on July 28 with the U.S. Men’s National Team in the Gold Cup final against Panama. Just 18 minutes in, Holden limped off and later learned that he tore his ACL, keeping him out for the next seven months.

The 28-year-old midfielder had only recently returned to action after a number of unlucky injuries had kept him off the field more often than not in the last three years. Holden suffered a broken leg in March 2011 and then right on his return, suffered knee cartilage damage in September 2011 that forced him out until January 2013.

Holden joined the USMNT last summer for both their World Cup qualifying camp in June and then the Gold Cup in July as he built up his match fitness, starting four games in the CONCACAF tournament.


What do you think of this news? Glad to see Holden back on the field? What does this say about his character? What do you think his World Cup chances are?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Always pulling for Stu! Glad to hear is lacing up the boots again, Bolton will certainly need him for the rest of the season. No reason to not get some 1st team minutes and find some form again.

  2. Much as I’d love to have him there Stu won’t make it for the same reason Dolo and other recently recovered players probably won’t make it.

    Even if they can play how do you know they won’t break down again in the very physically draining World Cup with many games close together?.

    You saw how Stu apparently healthy and fit went down with no contact in the Gold Cup. Stu should not endanger what is left of his Bolton career. .

  3. Maybe it’s because he’s been seemingly out of the conversation for so long, but I really don’t care what this means for his World Cup chances. Stu Holden is awesome and I’ll be happy to see him in a first-team game again. Dude deserves some good things.

    • True dat. I’m sure the guy would love nothing more than to answer questions about matches he’s played instead of recovery timetables for a change USMNT is great and if things somehow align and he ends up in Brazil, well so be it. But for him I’d have to think the healthiest situation is whatever gives him an opportunity to contributte and restablish confidence that his CV as a player is still very much open to update. With luck he can re-establish himself as a professional, available-for-selection, first team player and banish the “hard luck guy” repuatation he never wanted or asked for. He doesn’t want to be remembered as that guy who looking promising for Bolton once upon a time…. I hope he can find a realization on his hard work that offers him a great finish and a legacy befitting his character.

  4. I really liked Stu a lot as well. But, his career does not mean the same thing it did to this team before his injury problems. He needs time to heal and play and get into a groove again, there is a long shot that he is ready to contribute for us next cycle, but that would be a bonus for us, most likely though, he will play some friendlies and perhaps some Gold Cup next summer but that’s it. We really need to get over the idea that he will come back and be a staple for this team.

  5. SH solves a lot of Klinsmann’s problems in the midfield. I though that he was exceptional in the Gold Cup and I would love to have seen him play alongside the two cyborgs in the midfield. If healthy, this is how we punch Portugal in the mouth:


    Cameron Gonzalez Besler F. Johnson

    J. Jones Holden Bradley

    Donovan Aron Dempsey

      • Marvell Wynne memories are always welcome with me… And he did shut down Ronaldo. But I can understand why a player of Ronaldo’s quality would struggle against Wynne. It’s like playing poker and knowing you have a straight flush, only to look up and see that your opponent is holding a pair of card from the game Uno and he looks like he’s about to say “Go Fish” at any moment.. As I recall, the mutual confusion was so bad that Marvell was somehow succesfully marking him from a public restroom two blocks from the stadium for much of the first half. =

  6. step one: Reserves 1-2 weeks

    step two: fist-team bench 2-3 games

    step two: fist-team starter rest of the year

    step three: Brazil, book it!

    …I mean he should go, the weather is nice and watching the WC will be fun

  7. His chances still arent that great to make Brazil but this gives a glimmer of hope. We plan without him but if he can somehow get a run of games he might be able to get on that provisional 30 man roster. I’m not counting on that but one can hope.

  8. Good luck Stu. We are routing for you. I would be so happy to see him on the field in Brail and why not he deserves it.? His work ethic will show. I believe Stuu till has enough time to s-q-u-e-e-z-e thru and get there by WC time!

  9. Great to hear he’s back. Too bad that it’s likely too late for him to make a push for Brazil. He’ll be 32 for 2018…. but that’s a LONG way off for a guy with an injury history like Stu’s. Here’s hoping he gets back to form and has a great (rest of his) career with Bolton.

      • The guys who are 32 are usually taken for their experience, which Holden lacks because of the injuries. It is unfortunate, but it is hard to imagine him making the Nats at 32 when his body is already a wreck.

      • He could be an RVP and magically be healthy for 2 seasons in a row. Then He can win us the World Cup!(quarterfinals)

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