Bolton manager Owen Coyle has backed Stuart Holden to make a strong return for club and country after the United States midfielder took another step towards first-team football with Wednesday night's run-out for Wanderers' reserves in front of his national head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Holden played 65 minutes as the Trotters' second string drew 1-1 with Rochdale before triumphing in a penalty shoot-out. The 26-year-old also played for the reserves against Fulham last week, the first action he has seen since suffering a knee injury in Bolton's Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester United in March.
"It's great to have him back," Coyle said. "I think he has probably been getting a little bit frustrated because he thinks he can click his fingers after being out for six months and get back at the level he was at."
He added: "It takes time to build up that fitness and your decision-making in a game, but it was great to see him running about with a Bolton Wanderers shirt on, albeit in a reserve game.
"It will be a tremendous boost when we get him back, and for Jurgen Klinsmann to make that trip when it was pouring down and to stay all night to watch the game is all credit to him.
"He showed his class, and there is no doubt that Stuart will reward him when he is fully fit with big performances for the national team."
Klinsmann is prepared to be patient as Holden continues to work his way back to top condition.
The USA boss told www.bwfc.co.uk: "He's getting closer and closer, but I'm not looking to get him in the United States squad as soon as possible. He's certainly in my plans, but I'm sure I'm one of many who don't want to rush him back.
"He's a very good character, has a professional attitude and constantly wants to improve his game. That's exactly the type of player the national team wants. We're building a young team in the United States and he definitely fits into that.
"People in the United States have noticed his ability, and now hopefully he can continue to step it up a bit at a time and surpass the levels he was at prior to his injury."
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