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22. Stu Holden

Michael Steele
Name: Stu Holden
Squad Number: 22
Position: Midfield
Joined: January 2010
Contract: June 30 2014

Stuart Holden is an American midfielder of Scottish descent, born in Aberdeenshire in 1985. Holden began his career with Sunderland before being released and signing for MLS side Houston Dynamo where he would go on to become an important member of their 2006 Championship winning side.

He spent weeks training in Britain with both Burnley and Bolton Wanderers, before signing for the Whites in January 2010 and making his debut in a 0-4 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. Following the success of his initial six months he was signed to a longer term deal by then-manager Owen Coyle.

Holden began the following season with a series of excellent performances, which would lead The Guardian newspaper to name him in their team of the season so far. However tragedy would soon follow as Holden suffered a serious knee injury in a challenge with Jonny Evans of Manchester United and this would put him out of the game for a year. Testament to his ability, performances and popularity, Holden was still voted Player of the Year despite missing over three months with injury.

Holden's recovery was stop-start, his playing return in September 2011 led to a further break of six months due to an undiscovered knee complaint, before he finally returned to the Reebok Stadium in January, a full 16 months after his last game. He was loaned to fellow Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to gain match fitness before returning to the club in April 2013.

A full United States international, Holden has most recently been an important member of the 2013 Gold Cup campaign. He has 23 caps to date, scoring three goals.