Remember Stuart Holden? The dynamic Scottish-born American international midfielder that once lined up in our ranks, until Jonny "The Bastard" Evans broke our hearts one Saturday in March 2011? Well, it looks like he's finally on the mend. Before we get to the good news, I'll give you a bit of a run down of just how bad my favourite guy from across the pond has had it for the majority of his twenties.
The now 30-year-old has seen his career blighted by injuries since that fateful day at Old Trafford almost five years ago. After said tackle from Evans, Holden was ruled out for a minimum of six months due to a fracture of his left femur, near the knee joint. This meant he missed our 2011 FA Cup semi-final against Stoke at Wembley, which we all know was a terrible day for football. Fuck you, Jonny Evans.
The following season, after six months on the sidelines, Holden started and played a full 90 minutes against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, but shortly after he was back on the treatment table as Owen Coyle and his medical staff decided to bring forward a routine follow up procedure on his existing injury. That operation revealed further cartilage damage which meant Holden would miss the entirety of the 2011/12 season. I strongly believe we wouldn't have been relegated if we'd had him in our team, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
He wouldn't make another appearance for Wanderers until 16 months later, coming on as a substitute in our 2-0 FA Cup 3rd round replay victory against Sunderland. As he continued his comeback from injury, Bolton were pushing for the play-offs, narrowly missing out due to a 2-2 draw with Blackpool on the final day of the season. Just over a month later, Holden was dealt another injury blow; tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament whilst playing for USA in a CONCACAF Gold Cup game against Panama. He was immediately ruled out another six to nine months.
Fast forward to March 2014 and Holden's back in a white shirt, playing a game for our Development Squad against Everton. But, lo and behold, he picks up another injury, and scans reveal he needs yet more surgery, leaving him sidelined for another six to nine months. What a nightmare.
However, after a dreadful five years on and off the field, it looks like there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for our Stu. He's been invited the the US National team's winter training camp in Carson, California, and will be attending with a spring in his step. Although he's not in the squad to play their friendlies against Iceland and Canada, Holden has been invited as a guest of US manager Jurgen Klinsmann and will begin training immediately. The camp started on January 11th and is expected to continue until the early part of February.
Stu, if you're reading this, from everyone here at Lion of Vienna Suite: it's great to see you on the mend. We'll have you back in a white shirt any time you like.