Bolton Wanderers FC

U.S. international Stuart Holden suffers injury in long-awaited comeback game for Bolton Wanderers


We were all hoping Stuart Holden’s latest comeback for Bolton Wanderers would be a successful one that could potentially see him make a late charge for the U.S. national team squad at this summer’s World Cup.

Now the U.S. soccer community waits with bated breath to find out if that still has a chance of happening.

According to Bolton’s official Twitter feed, Holden broke down after just 22 minutes of his comeback match for Bolton’s U-21 side against Everton on Monday night.

The former Houston Dynamo midfielder was playing in his first game since tearing his ACL in his right knee during the USA’s 1-0 CONCACAF Gold Cup final win over Panama back in July. On Monday Bolton announced that after the American midfielder had initially clutched his right knee, his night was over. “Holden is down on the turf again after reaching for a loose ball. Doesn’t look good,” Bolton tweeted.

Updates since the initial injury occurred seem promising, as the Championship club revealed that 28-year-old Holden was able to walk down the tunnel without any help.

However if this injury is another setback for Holden, it will be a damaging blow in his late bid to make Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad. His string of serious injuries date back to 2010 when he horrifically broke his leg while playing for the USA against the Netherlands but Holden still managed to make one appearance at the 2010 World Cup vs. England. However he then injured his left knee against Manchester United in a tackle with Jonny Evans in March 2011 which kept him out for over a year. Holden has had nothing but bad luck with his fitness since.

Despite all of that, the energetic midfielder has stayed in and around the USMNT picture and trained with the squad as a guest player during the January camp in California earlier this year.

Here’s the latest from Bolton, with more details to trickle through from Lancashire soon.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
Leave a comment

Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
Leave a comment

Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.