American international Stuart Holden is still looking for his first taste of the Premier League after failing to make an appearance for Sunderland five years ago.
Holden, who joined Bolton in January, suffered a torrid time whilst at Sunderland after being signed by then boss Mick McCarthy.
The Scots-born midfielder, then just 18, was attacked outside a Newcastle nightclub, suffering a fractured eye socket in the incident. The injury ruled him out for two months before he returned to training only to be ruled out until the end of the season with an ankle injury.
The injury led to Holden being released by the club and the teenager returned to America.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” he said. “It set me back a little bit and put me out for a couple of months.
“I finally got back from that and then did my ankle, so I was out until the end of the season. I guess it was never meant to be.
“It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to come back and play over here.”
Before returning to the Premier League with Bolton, the 24-year-old consulted close friends and international team-mates Tim Howard and Landon Donovan.
“They’re good friends of mine, and I have to say they were pivotal in my decision-making process in coming over here,” he said.
“They’ve pointed out a few things, showed me the ropes a bit. Now I’m ready to go.”
Holden was born in Aberdeen where he lived until he was 10 years old before moving to Houston, Texas with his family. He played for Clemson University before signing for Sunderland in 2005 and after being released by the club he returned to America where he played for Houston Dynamo.
With the World Cup approaching in the summer Holden admitted his switch from the MLS to the Premier League was a risky move.
“I could have taken the easy route, spent six months playing every game at Houston and if I’d been playing the way I had, then I would have probably been going to the World Cup,” he said.
“But in terms of my career, I didn’t want to make a decision based solely on one World Cup.
“It’s a decision that affects the next few years of my life. It’s the next step and I’ll never look back and have any regrets.”
Holden has been sidelined with a minor injury since joining Bolton, but he will be hoping to prove himself to Owen Coyle soon and secure both a permanent contract and World Cup place with the USA.