Coyle - Muamba a fighter
Owen Coyle has described Fabrice Muamba as a 'natural born fighter' and has again thanked the football community for their overwhelming support.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp
Last Updated: 23/03/12 8:32am
Owen Coyle has described Fabrice Muamba as a 'natural born fighter' and has again thanked the football community for their overwhelming support of the past few days.
The Bolton midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest during Saturday's abandoned FA Cup clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane and it was 78 minutes before his heart started again after 15 electric shocks.
Muamba, who moved to England as a youngster from Zaire, remains in intensive care in the London Chest Hospital but has made staggering progress so far, although he is still only at the start of a very long road.
Coyle believes that some of the 23-year-old's recovery can be attributed to his fitness as a professional footballer, and insists that the messages of goodwill from across the globe since the weekend's harrowing events have also played a part.
The Bolton boss told reporters: "The two big things I always felt Fabrice had in his favour is he is a fit young man and has had to fight to earn everything in his life because of his upbringing, leaving that country and coming to another culture.
"He is a battler. You only have to look at the number of times they tried to resuscitate him. To come through that, you can see he is a natural born fighter.
"For the length of time his heart stopped, 78 minutes, it's incredible to see where he is just now. But he's still continuing with that battle. He remains in intensive care.
"He's seriously ill but I've no doubt the support showed to him has played a big part in his improvement."
Coyle has vowed that Bolton will stand by the former England Under-21 international throughout what is expected to be a lengthy recovery process, with the priority now ensuring that the former Arsenal and Birmingham man is able to rebuild his life with fiancée Shauna and young son Josh.
"I sat with Shauna and that's what we said: this football club will always look after Fabrice. That's a given, absolutely," he added.
"We would love Fabrice to come back to be the lad he was - that big smile and playing at the level he has. But the biggest single thing that Shauna said is that Fabrice is alive, and she and their son, Josh, have him.
"The support has been incredible, overwhelming, very humbling. It was all about the wellbeing of a young man. It shows you how fragile life can be. At any given moment, it can all be taken away. It's a lesson we should all heed. You have to cherish life.
"I saw that support globally the other night with Real Madrid wearing the T-shirts. It's widespread.
"There are people at Arsenal, Manchester City, other clubs, who played with Fabrice and know he is a genuinely nice man, a great lad. When I've bumped into people in the street they've stopped and said 'our thoughts and prayers are with him'.
"Prayer has been the word and long may that continue. It doesn't matter what your chosen church is. The fact that a collective unit of people are praying together is important in that journey.
"I have my own beliefs and they've not changed. But it's been refreshing to know so many people are praying for Fabrice."