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Rory Holden 'open' to Walsall return

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

Rory Holden has revealed he would be ‘open’ to a return to Walsall next season after his loan spell came to an end.

Rory Holden celebrates his last minute winner against Northampton

The Bristol City midfielder spent last season on-loan with the Saddlers, before it was cut short in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Manager Darrell Clarke has already hinted at the possibility of bringing some of his loan stars back to the club and Holden has now insisted the move would interest him.

“I’m not too sure (what is next) to be honest, with the whole situation at the minute, but once I get back to Bristol I’ll speak to people at the club and my agent and see what the plans are.

“I need to see what is best for me and the club.

“Maybe there will be a bit more attention this year but I’ll still be thinking about Walsall and maybe it will be a possibility that I do come back next season.

“I would openly come back to Walsall, I really enjoyed my time there so I just have to wait and see what happens next season.”

After a rocky start, Holden began putting in impressive performances towards the second half of the campaign and netted his first two goals for the club in the last three games before football was suspended.

“Personally, I think I ended the season well, but obviously I had a bit of a slow start with my performances,” he added.

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“Darrell Clarke and the fans had to be patient with me but then come the New Year the team performances and my performances picked up.

“It’s a shame that it ended the way it did but at least on a personal note it ended on a positive note.

“I’m only 22, I’m not overly young but I’m still not too experienced.

“It was my first time on-loan for a full season and the first time I’ve played 30-plus games, so I am growing, taking it game by game and getting experience every time I step on the pitch.

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“It was a relief when it started to come together, nobody wants to go until February to get their first goal for their new club. It was just a matter of time for me.”

The 22-year-old came in for criticism at the beginning of his loan spell, which took it’s toll on the Northern Irishman – something he had to overcome.

“The criticism was tough at the time because I was never used to it,” he said.

“It was my first time playing a full season and I’ve never had criticism from fans as such because I’ve only really played youth football.

“The boys at the club and the gaffer helped me massively. It’s a side of the gaffer that you don’t really get to see, he would speak to me on a daily basis and see how I was.

“He would tell me not to get affected by the criticism because he had faith in me, which I hope I repaid.

“I learned a lot, I never realised how physical men’s football was.

“I learned a lot off the pitch as well, moving away from Bristol and my mates and living by myself and then having to go in with new team-mates and a lot of them being men.

“It was hard at the start but I got used to it and everybody welcomed me in.”

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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