UPDATED- Holden completes short-term loan to Sheffield Wednesday

Stuart Holden of Bolton Wanderers and Barry Ferguson of Birmingham City


Stuart Holden has struggled for playing time at Bolton since returning from injury, but the Trotters are prepared to set Holden up with a move that could help him get back on the field.

The Bolton News is reporting that Bolton is preparing to send Holden on a short-term loan move to Sheffield Wednesday. (UPDATE: Bolton have confirmed the loan deal on their Twitter account, with the loan lasting through April 24. “This is the best move for Stuart. We had a good chat and I informed him that we want him with us next season,” manager Dougie Freedman said on Bolton’s Twitter account.)

Holden hasn’t played in a month for Bolton, and a move to Sheffield Wednesday could allow him get playing time in the middle of a race to avoid relegation. Sheffield Wednesday is currently a point out of the relegation zone in the English League Championship.

Holden is in the final year of his deal with Bolton, and is reportedly in contract talks with the Trotters.

What do you think of this potential move?

Share your thoughts below.

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68 Responses to UPDATED- Holden completes short-term loan to Sheffield Wednesday

  1. elgringorico says:

    Sure, we all would have loved to see Stu race back into Bolton’s starting lineup and be the same player he used to be. But the truth is, he’s had several (2+?) knee surgeries and it will be very difficult for him to regain his old form. AT least with this move, he will be playing again. The kid has heart and that could be what gets him back to being a star.

    • TomG says:

      Agree with everything you said. Depressing, though, that it’s taking THIS long. He was supposed to be back in November/December. Alarming, too, that he can’t get any time at Bolton, who is not exactly a stacked squad at this point. His body must still be recovering. I worry that he’s had so many knocks that his body will just never be strong enough to play at a high level again.

    • Josh D says:

      This is the best thing for Holden. Sometimes, not getting time isn’t a result of you not being good enough, just that others are playing well enough that you can’t usurp them.

      Holden needs time to get into form. Bolton don’t have that time to offer him. Moving to a weaker squad will enable him to find his form, in which case he’ll be ready when he returns to Bolton.

      Absolutely no complaints, and it’s even better he’s in the same division and not going down a level. I’d like to see him at the Gold Cup so he gets more games in too.

      • Gary Page says:

        A bunch of good points. Thanks for a good post.

        • Mark says:

          This all reminds me of Charlie Davies as well. Makes me sad.

          These two guys were two of the best up and coming players the US had ever produced. Their future was so bright.

          Just goes to show you that in sport as in life, anything can happen.

          So frustrating.

          • TomG says:

            Yes, but there is hope b/c their situations are pretty different. Charlie, being in an automobile accident, had his whole body shattered and put back together while Stu has had specific injuries.

            • YesItsNate says:

              I think possibly the specific part of Holden’s story that makes Mark “sad” is that Holden’s body didn’t fail him – he was a victim of two very horrific tackles: 1 from Nigel De Jong in the March 2010 Friendly in Amsterdam that made Holden wholly ineffective at WC 2010. The 2nd being Jonny Evans “Nancy Kerrigan”-esqe mangling of Holden’s knee with that studs up hack-job in the Bolton v. United game a couple years back.

              Holden has been truly victimized by his “all-in” style of Central Midfield play combined with some just felonious tackles. If he regains any semblance of his old top form, he would be a great right-mid option in the USMNT 4-2-3-1

    • GW says:

      Just to add to what everyone below has said, his manager Freedman would like to work him into the lineup but they are currently doing well and have an outside shot at the playoffs. So he is reluctant to fix what ain’t broke.

      In addition they are discussing a contract extension with Stu.

      The short loan (a month) gets Stu some need playing time, helps Wednesday who are in relegation trouble, and allows Freedman and Bolton to better evaluate where Stu really is.

      If he goes there and blows the doors off of the place then I think they may have time to get him into things at the end of the season. If not then Stu will know what he has to work on.

      Everyone wins here.

      They certainly have not given up on a man who is apparently the most popular player at the club.

  2. ChiTown says:

    Hope he gets a run out.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      It appears Bolton is doing him a favor in allowing him to move for the balance of the season/ his contract, because he is “surplus to requirements.” It is a downward move from Championship #8 and mathematically in the promotion hunt, to #21 and in a relegation battle. But teams high in the table with ambitions are not usually the place to go hunting PT as the new guy, ask Jozy at Xerez.

  3. tpizzle says:

    gold cup please!!

    not sure he will ever regain his pre injury form but I hope he can at least get another contract and get paid well. Come back to MLS stu if you have to
    best of luck at Sheffield

    • Travis in Miami says:

      Along with Bocanegra and Gooch for Gold Cup. Let’s see what these guys got left and see if they can be in the running for veteran presences on a 2014 WC squad,

      • jack says:

        are you kidding me? Put a fork in Boca, he’s done. As for Gooch, I think he deserves consideration, but he doesn’t need to play in the Gold Cup – let the rookies handle that. Bring him in for the May friendlies, or in the Fall if he starts playing first-team ball again.

        • Josh D says:

          Absolutely agree. Boca and Gooch shouldn’t be in the conversation for the Gold Cup. They are both seasoned veterans. It’s up to them to earn club playing time and get back on the national team. Not for us to show them favors.

          Gold Cup is for youth or fringe: Mix, Corona, Agudelo, Wood, Hamid, Brook, Pontius, Nguyen, Gatt, Boyd, etc.

          • ATX_Colin says:


          • Colin in MT says:

            I agree the gold cup is an opportunity for younger guys to show what they have. But it’s also an opportunity for guys like bocanegra to mentor and pass on their knowledge. I’d imagine besler or another young CB is going to learn more from playing alongside Bocanegra for a few games.

            Basically, I think throwing 11 young inexperienced guys out onto the field could be detrimental.

      • Hersh Skywalker says:

        I wish Boca and Gooch would also come back to MLS. They would be awesome, and they would play – and they probably could get placed as DPs so they could make some bank while doing so. I suspect they would be staring on the USMNT again if they could play b/c you know they’ve got skills.

        • Matt says:

          Tough to go back to MLS as DPs…those slots aren’t used for defenders too often. So they either have to sacrifice a lot of money in the hopes of getting the PT to get back on the National Team radar, or make more money in Europe and realize their National days are done.

  4. Cairo says:

    Hopefully this news will help Holden but also temper the “Holden as savior” of the USMNT speculation. Sometimes it recalls those folks who clamored for Charlie Davies to be on the 2010 WC tean, despite all te evidence that he was nowhere close to his old self. Holden needs tme to improve on his own terms, not those of national team fans

    • keithbabs79 says:

      If only it was financially feasible to phase out club and just have international matches

    • whoop-whoop says:

      The whole lead up to the 2010 WC was maddening with delusional folks laying into Bradley for not bringing in CD. I was as disappointed as any about him being out… and Holden… and am about Boca’s decline as well as Gooch, but truth is truth. Managers and teams in sports are operating in the ultimate meritocracy where performance in the now trumps all. When you are competing with the very best in the world, there is not much wiggle room, an extra step in quickness can mean a game, a small decline can make all the difference in the world. If anyone can overcome this Holden can, as he has no shortage of determination, but history shows it is far from being a given.

  5. andrewfroboy says:

    Going to be a long wait until June for more qualifiers, I am already having USMNT withdraw

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think we ought to have universal Gold Cup qualifying to expand the set of meaningful games for the United States. Depending on if you did two tourneys a cycle or just one every four years, you could significantly increased the games that count, giving you your fix.

  6. Dennis says:

    It is hard to know how much this is Holden’s progress (or lack of it) compared to not wanting to mess with Bolton’s lineup in the last half of the season. Bolton is 2 places, 5 points, out of a playoff spot for promotion. In any case good luck to him.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think it says he is not so incredible they will tinker, but since he is probably working on form and fitness, that could simply mean as you suggest the jury’s out and we’ll see. Or it could mean he’s now an O’Brien/Davies/Olsen/Convey. Soccer is a demanding and unforgiving sports sometimes at the elite level.

  7. PetedeLA says:

    Just keep him away from the center of the pitch where you get involved in the truly nasty tackles. Hope he can stay injury free.

    • Josh D says:

      That’s the only place he can play now. With those knees, he’ll never be fast enough to play the wing nor is he a good enough dribbler. Holden is a good passer who isn’t afraid to dig in. Without that physicality, he won’t stay long in England.

    • ATX_Colin says:

      Dont think that would help as a bad tackle can happen anywhere on the field.

  8. YO says:

    Good! He needs to get away from that new manager, don’t think he knows what that hell he is doing.

    • pgloerse says:

      Seems smart from the manager if you ask me. Bolton were crap most of the year and have finally found some stability to get up to 8th. Just a situation where he’s not fully match fit and needs some games.

      “The United States international is out of contract at the end of the season but it is understood Trotters boss Dougie Freedman wants to offer fresh terms to the 27-year-old, with a short-term move being for no other reason than allowing him to play games on a regular basis.”

  9. USSoccerHomer says:

    I only question whether Stu is guaranteed playing time at Sheffield. Teams that are in relegation battles tend to stick with the guys best able to win (which means healthy, in-form, and familiar with the system), not new guys working back from injury. For example, how much runout is Parkhurst getting in Germany lately?

    • Ross says:

      “best able to win” that’s funny. Because they haven’t been doing a whole lot of that lately.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        IMO teams on the precipice of relegation tend to have the other problem, which is sorting out the proper amount of risk. I think they tend to know they are not getting results because like you suggest it’s obvious. But then they have to figure out not so much whether they want to make changes, as how far they want to go knowing it might be all for naught.

        If a relegated team does nothing it’s usually because they’ve decided financial prudence outweighs potentially saving their bacon. After all, QPR has done an overhaul and brought in a name coach and spent money to do that, and since all they managed from that was more ties, they’re probably toast, despite the effort. At which point you have EPL-oriented spending but Championship income (give or take the parachute). Portsmouth, etc.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      If Bolton are willing to loan him out now they obviously don’t plan on using him. This will give him a chance to play his way into Sheffield’s lineup. This is the big leagues man. There is no “guarantee” of playing time. Hopefully Stu can do it and put himself out there for whoever is interested in his services.
      Like some others have said, hopefully this will cool people’s hopes of a national team return. He is still not there yet and may never be. que lastima

      • keithbabs79 says:

        While there is no guarantee he will start, most loans see the potential, half-full side. I can’t imagine a team seeking targets to warm their bench.

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          Obviously they got him because they think he can help, but its up to him to prove he can do the job. If he doesn’t play better than the guys they already have he will find himself on the bench. Its a sensible move for all parties involved.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I had that thought before I saw the update with Bolton’s coach saying he wanted him back. He’s obviously surplus for this season hence the loan, but they are at least making noises like if he shows well they’d look at him after. Could be hot air, and the reality is Holden is probably already in his pre-signing period and will be free in the summer. I don’t see a ton of upside to going back, even if he uses the loan to show well. If he does show well, he might be able to do better, and at minimum I wouldn’t want to be going back to the same team that’s got a little bit of cold feet. And if the loan is a mess he might simply be better off coming back to MLS and pushing reset. If he has Brazil aspirations — even if he needs to build his way back — he needs to be playing someplace.

        • Chicago Pete says:

          Sheff Wed would not take a loan if they did not think or plan on him helping the club. Wed wants him in the lineup as much as Bolton wants him in the lineup for minutes. Both clubs are looking to benefit from this loan (just like any other loan in this situation). Stu will fill the need at Wed in a midfield that has been struggling through injury. If he can give some pace and stability there for the next 4-6 games, Wed will be happy and then Bolton will bring him back for the last few games to come off the bench.

          Standard loan.

        • Chicago Pete says:

          Also, I’m sorry but a move to the MLS for any player on the their way down (Gooch, Boca) will not help them get a place with the USMNT. Why do you think guys like Beasley have not come back? Those type of players only come back when they throw their hands up and say, “OK. That’s it. Time to finish in the MLS.” Europe and I hate to say Mexico are the places to play if a potential USMNT player still wants to make it.
          Did Keller say “I can better my chances to play on the national team by coming to the MLS?” No. MLS is a good league but not a league where players come to make the USMNT. Sorry.

    • GW says:

      Wednesday’s manager said that this was the only way they could have the services of a player they could never afford to buy. Take that for what it is worth.

  10. Falsify says:

    Nobody else wants to be that guy so I’ll be that guy. Look, I love Stuart, but this is a clear signal that he will never be the player that most everyone expects him to be. Holden WAS good enough they would start him with this team late in the season if he was capable. We’ll have to watch how he does at Sheffield but I’m concerned about this and looking at the cup half empty. Stop adding him or suggesting him in player lineups, even gold cup speculation is a stretch. Lets see how he does at Sheffield.

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      Or maybe he’s in their plans but his fitness isn’t there, given the 2 year layoff, but they would like to get him some PT?

    • fan of football says:

      Agreed. Let’s forget about national team callups for a bit and give him time to work back to game level fitness and see how he does. We won’t know anything about his progress until seeing him on the field consistently.

      My prediction: He comes into the SW team meeting a bit late Friday evening after just arriving in town and signing his loan papers, flashes a bit of Holden charm and wins over the locker room and manager in one fell swoop, earning him a spot in the starting 11 on Saturday. He scores 2 and sets up 2 more before being subbed off to a standing ovation from the SW faithful. After more similar performances to finish out the season, a bronze statue is raised outside the stadium commemorating the man who single handledly saved the club from relegation and brought light to a once dark city.

      …but yeah, lets just wait and see guys

    • Josh D says:

      That’s not true at all. He’s good enough to make the bench each game. He’s not starting because he isn’t in form. And he can’t get in form without playing games. It’s a catch-22.

      This move is Bolton giving him a trial. His contract is up this summer so they need to see if he still has it in him to play. If he does well on loan, Bolton will offer him another contract. If he busts, they won’t because they’ll figure he’s crocked.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      One thing to factor into your theory is that with a tournament like Gold Cup we might be together 3-4 weeks and he’d have time to get fit, opportunity to get PT. We’d have every reason to “clear the pattern” for him knowing his potential quality. To the extent this is about fitness and PT, Gold Cup in and of itself offers a solution. You might even have him in the prior June quali camp just to get the work, with no real intent to suit him up. Maybe he trains with the Dynamo in May.

      Now, he might be broken, a la Davies, but that’s a separate issue. If he’s got some structural or degenerative problem, then I agree, this is all she wrote. But if it’s not, Gold Cup allows for massive rosters, lengthy off-season camps. It’d be in our own interest to see if we could whip him into shape, at which point the ball would go into his court to find a smart place to sign.

    • GW says:

      Then why are Bolton discussing contract extension terms with him?

      • Chicago Pete says:

        Honestly, because they think he will make it back. Stu as shown he can come back from some bad injuries and perform at a high level. Also understand that just because they want to give him an extension does not mean the are going to pay him a crazy amount of money. Usually, extensions for players coming of injuies like Stu had mean less $$$. Extensions do not always mean more $$$, just that the club wants them to stick around so they hopefully pan out.

  11. chris says:

    Man you people are crazy. Hes been out 23 months and you expect him to come right in and start for Bolton? This is nothing more than a rehab assignment to get him games and work his way back into the game. Bolton want him back next season. Lets judge Holden once he gets a few games and a whole preseason under his belt. Anybody putting him in any USMNT team have no idea what they’re talking about.

  12. Michael F. SBI Mafia Oriinal says:

    Bummed it’s come to this. Let’s just hope he can earn PT at Sheffield and that Bolton really want him back.

  13. typical american fan says:

    that’s OK, look at the silver lining! moving from a better team to a worse team in a 2nd division is a clear sign for a call-up! he’s ready to play!

    here’s my wish list Gold Cup team made up of HIGH potential USMNT savior guys who are about to turn the corner, yay! (also, i have no idea about soccer, I just like to plug in names of players who have had a good game here and there)

    Charlie Davies (wasn’t he awesome 4 years ago!)-Adu (he’s only 23! no one’s given him a proper chance!)-

    Bedoya (Ives like him!)-Holden- Tim Ream (played in EPL just last year!)-Robbie Rogers (he was good against Mexico 2 yrs ago!)

    Bornstein (j/k even delusional fans don’t want him)-John Anthony Brooks (CAP him now!)-Whitbread (EPL caliber!)-Marvell Wynne (so fast!)

    • SBI Troll says:

      Tim Ream in midfield? And Rogers retires… Other than that I like it! Just put Friedel in goal and we’re in business!

  14. Zac L says:

    Let’s all face the facts that he is simply the 2nd coming of John O’Brien. A guy who had loads of potential to be a solid midfield general for the US National Team, but injuries simply took his career away at far too early an age! It is such a shame because I really think Holden could add so much to the team that is sorely lacking in composure on the ball and attacking acumen.

    • jon says:

      Really depressing, dude. But way speculative to say at this point. When Davis came back to mls, it was clear to anyone watching that he couldn’t move the same way. I’ve not heard anyone report that Holden has lost his mobilty/range of motion etc.. Let’s give him a chance to get some pt and get his form back.

  15. MikeG says:

    I think Holden needs to get back to EPL level. Too many other players playing in a higher division around Europe and ahead of him. Ultimately it is up to Stuart Holden.

  16. Juest says:

    This loan gives Bolton a chance to evaluate Holden in live action without risking him in their starting line-up. It also gives Stu a chance to showcase his talent before he becomes a free agent. Win-win for both sides.

    I guess I have a reason to watch Sheffield Wednesday now . I’m not sure it outweighs the other 10 reasons not to watch them, they stink!

    • Sheffman says:

      Love to know your 10 other reasons not to watch the Owls. If he plays tomorrow it will probably be in front of around 30,000 fans. SWFC have the second best attendance record in the Championship so I hope he can survive a big match atmosphere which he wouldn’t have been getting at Bolton if he played. I wish we didn’t have to consider a loanee at such an important stage of the season but needs must.
      Hope we don’t “stink” too much to help him in his recovery. UTO

  17. Mulfacados says:

    Somewhere stuffed at the bottom of a ball bag…Tim Ream screams for a way out

  18. chris_thebassplayer says:

    I don’t care where he goes just as long as he can get on the pitch. For my own peace of mind I’d like to see his mobility and length of recovery time…can he play consecutive games.

  19. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

    I love this move. After missing 2+ years, you can’t expect him to just come in at Bolton and jump guys in the pecking order. That’s not fair. Especially when they’re fighter for a promotion playoff spot. I hope he’s able to get time at Sheffield b/c their remaining matches are important too. He’s still playing for something, ya know? It’s a great move. Hopefully…….Bolton gets promoted, he re-signs w/ the Wanderers, works his way back into the 11, then becomes a legitimate part of the USMNT conversation. This guy is not washed up… Far from it.