Stars & Stripes recall for Stu Holden: Midfielder called into post-season camp and Gold Cup squad

Jim Prisching

"It hasn't been two years off in terms of a holiday but it has been a lot of time away from football and I want to play as much as I can. I think Klinsmann's style of play really will suit me."

That is what Stu Holden told the Bolton News upon his return to Wanderers following a Sheffield Wednesday loan. Stu has not played for the United States Men's National Team in nearly three years but has made enormous steps in a return to full fitness. We knew that USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was keeping tabs on the midfield dynamo and now, with the Gold Cup quickly coming up this summer, Stu will get his chance.

Speaking to US Soccer's official website, Jurgen Klinsmann discussed Holden's situation:

"We've been in touch with Stuart throughout this whole injury period.

"The last couple of months have given us a lot of positive signals. I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He's on his way back.

"That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup."

With the United States Men's National Team still fully embroiled in their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, the Gold Cup will be a way for Klinsmann and the US staff to see some of the team's fringe players and up-and-coming talents. As such, it will give Stu a highly-competitive atmosphere in which he can ply his trade without the extremely high pressure of a full-on international tournament with all to play for.

The United States is hosting the competition, like it does every time (save for the two tournaments that saw hosting duties split by the US and Mexico). As such, there are some top-quality venues that Stu will take the field on including Cowboys Stadium, Red Bull Arena, BBVA Compass Stadium, and Rio Tinto Stadium, among many others. Should the United States play games at Seattle's CenturyLink Field or Portland's Jeld-Wen Field, Holden will face the added challenge of a synthetic turf field as opposed to natural grass.

If the Americans make it to the final (which they have on all but three occasions), Holden could play up to six matches in a United States shirt.

Speaking further, Jurgen Klinsmann would go on to confirm that he had received Dougie Freedman and Bolton Wanderers' blessing:

"We have the backing from his club that we can play him through the summer.

"He knows there won't be big vacation time, and he said ‘I don't want vacation anymore. I had one and a half years off!' So that's exciting news for us, having him back in the group and seeing him and evaluating where he's at, and helping him become the old Stuart Holden, and even better because he's still so young.

"He's a tremendous character. He's a positive thinker. He's a giver, and you need givers on your team. When you go toward the World Cup you always need to look out for people who are able to suffer and be there for their teammates. Stuart is a role model in that.

"At the end of the day, it still depends on how good he is and how strong he comes back, and we are excited to see how he does."

The American midfielder, who told us in an interview that he feels 100% fit again, has not put on a United States Men's National Team shirt since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In that tournament, he only saw five minutes for the Americans, coming on as a late substitute in the 1-1 opening draw against England. A successful season at Bolton Wanderers followed that, until a March match against Manchester United in which Holden was stretchered off.

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