Stuart Holden lasted just 20 minutes in the Gold Cup final… Does this spell the end of the American’s time at the Reebok?
It`s easy to be jealous of Stuart Holden. He`s 27, good-looking, and possesses talent and a desire welcome at any Premier League club. Before Holden signed for the Whites he was ready for a new challenge. He had outgrown MLS and the top-flight of English football welcomed Holden like a newborn to the bosom.
Signed on a free-transfer from Houston, a lot of Wanderers fans either didn`t know much about the midfield dynamo, or were sceptical of his uncontested availability. It took only seconds on the pitch to realise his charisma, minutes to realise his ability and only hours of playing time to understand, Wanderers` fans had a new darling. Then, on 19th March 2011, Bolton visited Old Trafford. I need not continue reminiscing?
Fast-forward to 2013 and things were looking up for the American. Back from his serious knee-injury but not quite ready to dislodge Jay Spearing from the starting 11, Holden was loaned to Sheffield Wednesday. Reports from the Hillsborough terraces were positive and a new contract lay waiting for Stuart to be signed when he returned from the Gold Cup.
It would be easy to presume a talent as precocious as Holden`s being available on the open-market, that the yet-to-be-signed contract lay without a John Hancock because the midfielder wanted to test his stock. A proven Premier League performer without any shackles, tied to Championship Bolton by sentiment alone, of course Holden would want to dip his toe. The majority of fans believed Holden was stalling the signature. The management at the Reebok were unquestioned in their desire for Holden to stay. It was all on the American to make up his mind, put pen to paper? Please, Stuart, say you`ll sign!
Maybe it was the other way around?
Yesterday, Stuart Holden was picked to start the Gold Cup final for the USA? He lasted 20 minutes. A clash of knees forced the substitution of the midfielder and early indications were ‘a sprained knee`. Now, reports are circulating- after Klinsman`s revelations- Stuart Holden has yet again suffered a serious knee injury.
Of course we mustn`t over-analyse the situation or self-diagnose Holden`s status, but Wanderers fans must surely now have to consider the possibility of never seeing their favourite American play for the club again.
Dougie and his team I`m sure had stipulations in place in anticipation of such a scenario occurring. Is this the reason Jay Spearing wasn`t being pursued at the intensity anticipated? If Holden is out long-term again, should the Whites stick by him? Or would the signing of Spearing make-up for the loss of the American?
Horrible questions to ask, but surely have to be considered.
If Holden doesn`t return to the Reebok, how could something that felt so right have been so wrong?