Stuart Holden was held out of Sheffield Wednesday’s lineup Monday, the victim of that ridiculously jammed-up schedule in the physically demanding English second tier.
The Bolton man was signed on a month-long loan to Sheffield Wednesday late last week, and the Owls got Holden right into their lineup. The U.S. international worked his way through 62 minutes Saturday in a huge win over local rival Barnsley.
Holden was stationed as central midfielder, assigned to play slightly higher than his central partner in the Owls’ 4-4-2.
He says he came through wonderfully, physically. Trouble was, the Owls of Sheffield Wednesday had just one full day of rest before their next match, Monday’s clash with Bristol City. The contest finished in a 1-1 draw; Holden was not named to the squad, which wasn’t too surprising.
Here’s what Holden said on Soccer Today (disclosure: it’s a radio show I co-host along with Marc Stein) on Sunday, just hours after making his first appearance for Wednesday. Holden had played a scattering of minutes for Bolton since returning from that extended injury absence six weeks ago but was ecstatic getting into the action for Wednesday, which is desperate to stave off relegation into England’s third tier.
Holden’s first contest for his new (temporary) club wasn’t just any old night, either, but a derby match for Sheffield Wednesday.
I feel great today. Nothing is like playing in a local derby game, running around, making a few challenges, getting up and down the pitch. To be able to come through that, that feeling of doing that, it makes you feel like a footballer again, that you really are back and that everything is great.
Holden then hinted that perhaps it wasn’t prudent to follow up so quickly, but noted that he was willing and certainly able if management asked:
We’ve spoken before, the gaffer here. We sat down and we spoke to me and said I need to be honest with him, to let him know how I’m feeling through this process, for it to be more of a give and take. Obviously, I don’t know that playing two games over three days is the best thing … but I certainly feel like I could do it. It’s going to be a decision that’s up to the manager.
Sheffield Wednesday takes the field again on Saturday, at home against Blackburn.
The full Holden interview is here, starting at about the 14-minute mark of the hour-long show.