Bolton Wanderers icon Stuart Holden is positive about a return from the latest ACL tear which has kept him sidelined for the last seven months, but the US international stresses that he won’t be making the same past mistakes in rushing his rehab.
Once hailed as the next big star of the American side upon moving to Bolton in the winter of 2010 from the Houston Dynamo, Holden’s well-documented injury troubles have seen him suffer a broken leg, fractured femur, two ACL tears and various setbacks since, with some doubting whether he will ever make a full return to the pitch at this point.
His latest comeback attempt lasted just 23 minutes into a Bolton under-21s game in March before he would break down again and require another knee operation, and the midfielder believes that was in part due to taking things too fast.
With his contract at the Macron Stadium since expired, despite the door being left open for a future return, Holden aims to be back on the field next season but, speaking to ESPN FC, for who he is working as a pundit in the meantime, explains the need to step back and continue to recover at his own pace.
‘At times, I’ve realised I’m my own worst enemy,’ he said. ‘I do all the things right in the gym but I may be a bit too eager sometimes to get back out on the field or push myself a little bit more.
‘At this point, having now been injured for the best part of a year with an ACL, and for three years on and off, I’ve just decided I need to step back, take some time to focus and allow myself to heal.
‘If you think this is a retirement message, I’ll be the first to disappoint you because I still feel like I have a lot to give,’ he added. ‘I still wake up in the morning with that drive and determination to keep pushing harder.
‘It’s just been the best decision to take time to prepare myself to get fit and make sure that when I step on the field I’ve eliminated every ounce of doubt about my readiness.’
Aged 29, the odds of Holden ever rediscovering the form he showcased during the 2010-11 Premier League campaign for Bolton, when he was on the verge of making the team of the season before fracturing his leg in March, look slim from the outside, but one still wouldn’t want to bet against the 25-times capped fan favourite proving all the doubters wrong.