Of the all the names called on Thursday by Jurgen Klinsmann for the US national team’s upcoming international friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, there was perhaps no more welcome surprise than Stuart Holden.
The hard-luck Bolton midfielder was called into US camp for the first time since October 2010, marking his successful return to the fold since a frightening knee injury in March 2011 began a sequence of events that threatened his international career.
But Klinsmann – who has already insisted Holden is an option for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July – said Friday that there is no extra pressure to perform on the former Houston Dynamo star, who reemerged while on loan with Sheffield Wednesday in March and has since returned to Bolton.
“We’ll being him in, we’ll evaluate him, and we just want to get him back on track,” Klinsmann said. “He went through a lot of difficult moments in the last year-and-a-half … he definitely deserves to come back into our group.
“There’s no pressure on Stuart at all. There’s no pressure. He can only win coming back in. And he’s highly accepted in the group, he’s one of the guys that really builds special chemistry. There’s no pressure on him, we can only gain throughout the next couple of weeks.”
Holden’s last game with the US team came during a scoreless draw against Colombia on Oct. 12, 2010, in Philadelphia. He played 59 minutes before he was pulled for Benny Feilhaber.
Roughly five months later, he suffered a serious knee injury during a match with Bolton against Manchester United, and he didn’t return to Bolton’s lineup until January 2013.
Holden, for his part, took to Twitter after the US roster announcement on Thursday.
“Seriously excited for the start of @ussoccer camp Tuesday!” Holden tweeted. “Can't wait to put on the red, white and blue again!”
Rimando still the No. 3 goalkeeper
Despite a total of six goalkeepers called into camp for the US team, Klinsmann insisted Friday that the pecking order has not changed, and the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando is the team’s third choice behind incumbent Tim Howard and backup Brad Guzan.
Klinsmann said he called in MLSers Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) and Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo) to evaluate where each one stands beyond that order, and they will alternate backup duties during the friendlies against Belgium and Germany and the opening qualifier on the road in Jamaica in June.
Late arrivals in camp
While the majority of players are expected to arrive in Cleveland on May 26 ahead of an international friendly against Belgium three days later, a number of players are expected to be late arrivals due to club obligations.
AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley will compete in the Coppa Italia final on May 26 in Rome against Lazio and is expected to arrive May 30, while defender Edgar Castillo and midfielder Joe Corona will both be with Club Tijuana in the Copa Libertadores through May 29 and are expected to arrive the following day.
The arrival dates of Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim) and Danny Williams (Hoffenheim) are unknown because of club obligations.