Stuart Holden has opened up about the injury nightmare that put his career on hold but is determined to get back on track with Bolton Wanderers.
Holden made only his fourth Trotters appearance of the season on Saturday, coming on for Josh Vela towards the end of their draw with champions Cardiff City.
Having finally recovered from a knee injury, which led to a month-long loan at Sheffield Wednesday, Holden believes he has come back to the Reebok Stadium a stronger player.
“I think it has gone better than I’d expected to be honest,” he told Fox Soccer Channel.
“I felt fitter every game, I felt stronger, I felt sharper and every time that you step on the field, you’re feeling more confident, in more of a rhythm and things start to come back to you.
“You get on the ball and you stop worrying about your knee. It’s more about how you’re playing and that’s why I think it’s been a major success.”
The USA international midfielder has returned to a Wanderers side currently sixth in the Championship table and just a win away from sealing a play-off spot.
Holden fractured his knee joint in March 2011 during a Premier League encounter at Old Trafford in a challenge with Manchester United centre-half Jonny Evans.
Reflecting on the setback, the 27-year-old holds no malice towards the Northern Irishman but admits being out for almost two years was a difficult experience.
“To be from such a high to instantly such a low was really tough for me,” the American explained.
“It was one of those split-second decisions when I thought I could win the tackle and obviously Jonny Evans did too.
“He kind of came in with a little more authority than I did, you could say. It all happened so fast. I just kind of remember the impact and remember seeing into my knee.
“Next thing, I’m lying on a bed and hearing doctors talking and debating over my scans. It was an open fracture and I was going to be out for a minimum of six months.”
The American is out of contract with the Whites this summer, but both he and manager Dougie Freedman admit negotiations over a new deal are in an advanced stage.
Image courtesy of BWFC, via YouTube, with thanks