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Tuesday 19 November 2019

Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes that Fabrice Muamba will thrive in his new life

BOLTON manager Owen Coyle believes the courage and strength Fabrice Muamba has displayed in his young life will stand him in good stead for his next move after football.

Muamba retired from the game yesterday on medical advice following his on-field cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie at Tottenham on March 17.

He was given 15 electric shocks on the pitch as paramedics tried to revive him and doctors later revealed the ex-England Under-21 midfielder's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes.

Messages of support from across football and beyond flowed in as Muamba made a remarkable recovery and Coyle feels the 24-year-old will be steeled by this battle and his experience as a youngster fleeing war-torn Zaire - now the Democratic Republic of Congo where he was born - to be successful in whatever he turns his hand to.

"First and foremost, we're all disappointed for Fabrice that he can't return to play the game he loves," said Coyle.

"I think we all recognise how far on his journey he's come since that night at White Hart Lane and that progress has truly been remarkable.

"Obviously the final part of that, if he'd been able to come back and play at the highest level, it would have been the stuff that dreams are made of.

"Fabrice has shown unbelievable courage, strength and mentality. He's a real battler and he's overcome many obstacles in his life and he'll go on to achieve great things - of that I have no doubt."

Kevin Davies made contact with Muamba after hearing the news yesterday and, like his manager, Bolton's captain paid tribute to a former team-mate he holds in the highest regard professionally and personally.

"I'm sure he's disappointed, as we all are, because we were kind of hopeful that we could get him back in the squad," said the veteran striker. "He's a great guy to be around and obviously a very good footballer.

"I texted him yesterday to just to say, look, I believe things happen for a reason in life and it's going to be difficult at the time, but he can take the right steps to go where he wants to go in his future.

"He's a sensible lad, he's a bright lad so I'm sure the club will be there to support him and all his team-mates as well.

"When he decides where he wants go we'll be there to escort him along the road."

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