Stuart Holden was delighted to be back on the pitch for Wanderers’ 2-0 victory at Sunderland in the FA Cup third-round replay following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Two goals from Marvin Sordell in an impressive team performance set up a fourth-round tie against Everton at the Reebok and midfielder Holden cannot wait to ‘kick on.’
The American, who had not played a game since a League Cup match against Aston Villa in September 2011 due to ongoing knee problems, came on as a 74-minute substitute in the victory at the Stadium of Light.
On his return, he said: “It was great just to be a part of it all again. It’s been so long. I’ve played a few reserve games but nothing compares to being out there with the first team.
“Everyone was encouraging me before, wishing me good luck, and they talked me through the game and made me feel comfortable back in there.”
The 27-year-old has worked hard throughout his injury to get back to fitness and is glad that it has finally paid off.
“I was sitting in the hotel reflecting on the last year-and-a-half and how much work I’ve done and how many days I’ve spent in the gym. For that to culminate now and being back with the first team, doing what I love, was a special moment for me.
“We’re under a new manager now and he’s brought in some new philosophies and I really feel that he’ll help me move on to another level as a player. I want to kick on and get back in the team and be a regular in the starting XI.”
The USA international was part of the 2010 World Cup squad and is thankful to all those who supported him during his lengthy lay-off and hopes to reward them with his performances on the pitch.
He added: “Everybody’s been fantastic. There are too many people to thank that have kept me going while times have been tough. A genuine thank you to anyone who has been there encouraging me to get back on the pitch.”
The full interview with Stuart is available to watch on Wanderers Player. Click here for more details.