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Stuart Holden back training, coach cautious about midfielder’s return

Dec 6, 2012, 12:49 PM EDT

Stuart Holden

It’s been 18 months since Stuart Holden was fully fit. That’s when he had his knee done in a Premier League match against Manchester United. Since, Bolton’s been relegated from the Premier League, his midfield partner has retired, the Trotters have changed managers, the U.S. Men’s National Team has changed coaches, and his former MLS team has made two appearances in MLS Cup finals. Eighteen months is a long time.

That’s what new Bolton manager Dougie Freedman’s is emphasizing as the 27-year-old finally returns to training with his team. It’s not full training – Holden’s doing one day on, one day off – but as the Wanderers’ boss notes, Holden’s energy is a positive influence:

“Stuart has been training one day on one day off which is great. The problem we have, and I do stress this to everyone, is that Stuart has been out for a long time and there will be absolutely no rush from the coaches’ point of view.

“He is training with us on every second day. He is looking nice and fit and his sharpness will come. He is such an enthusiastic lad and he is great to have around. I have tried to encourage Stuart to get around the place which is good for us.

“But we are still a couple months away from seeing Stuart, let’s not kid ourselves, but we are looking forward to that.”

All was can hope is that those couple of months go smooth, Holden can use the spring to regain his legs, and by the start of the 2013-14 campaign, he’ll be back to full fitness.

There’s always a lot of excitement around Holden, but for now, let’s just leave it at that.

  1. mkbryant3 - Dec 6, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Man, I have a bad feeling about this. It’s been so long. It’d be so great to have him back at top shape. I wish we could put Johnny Evans’ balls in a vice.

    • joeyt360 - Dec 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      Me too. I think it’s an Olsen/Zakuani situation, where he may come back, but never be the same player he used to be.

  2. schmutzdeck - Dec 9, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    joeyt360,

    Stu hasn’t played in nearly two years. When athletes come back from injury, there is a certain shakedown period where the athlete has to regain his confidence in his body. It would hardly be surprising if that took a while for Holden.

    I’m really sick and tired of USMNT fans expecting Holden to waltz right back into the USMNT picture. It would be a big victory for him just to get back to playing Championship level football for Bolton on some kind of regular basis.

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