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Coyle pays tribute to Muamba's courage

Bolton manager Owen Coyle has hailed the "courage and strength" of Fabrice Muamba after the Wanderers midfielder was forced to retire from playing.

Muamba, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and was told by specialists last week that it would be too risky for him to attempt to resume his career.

He made a remarkable recovery after his heart had stopped beating for 78 minutes and had expressed the hope that he could return to the professional game, but was warned that the strain would be too great.

Announcing his retirement on Wednesday, he said: "I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career.

"But the news I received [from the heart specialist] was obviously not what I had hoped it would be, and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football."

Bolton manager Coyle said he believed Muamba would succeed in whatever he decided to turn his hand to, saying he would "go on to achieve great things - of that I have no doubt".

"First and foremost, we're all disappointed for Fabrice that he can't return to play the game he loves,'' he said. "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, 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. He'll go on to achieve great things, of that I have no doubt.''

Bolton skipper Kevin Davies said Muamba's former team-mates would be there to support him, adding: "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.

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

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