Fabrice Muamba might play again - Bolton boss Owen Coyle

Bolton manager Owen Coyle says it would not surprise him if Fabrice Muamba played football again, but stressed the midfielder will need time.

Muamba was discharged from hospital on Monday having collapsed during an FA Cup tie with Spurs on 17 March.

"Knowing Fabrice and how much of a battler he is, it wouldn't surprise me if he comes back," said Coyle.

"God willing, if he ever comes back to play then of course, that will be a huge boost to everybody."

The 24-year-old collapsed after 41 minutes of the FA Cup quarter-final tie and was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and 15 defibrillator shocks before he arrived at the intensive care unit of the London Chest Hospital.

He is now spending time at home with his fiance and son as he continues his recovery, but Dr Richard Cooke, a consultant cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital, told the Manchester Evening Newsexternal-link Muamba might be back within six months.

"It would seem highly likely that he would have had a defibrillator put in," Cooke said.

"There are some footballers who do play with them and have had a similar history, so as long as he makes a full neurological recovery, from a heart perspective there is no reason why he couldn't resume his professional football career.

"I understand he has made a surprisingly good recovery and all being well, I would not be surprised if he was back playing football in six months."

The Bolton boss spoke to Muamba on the phone after training on Thursday.

"You can always tell from the sound of somebody's voice and he sounded in a good place," said Coyle. "It was great to hear from him and he sounded terrific.

"That's a huge boost given where he's come from - we've all seen the sad events in Italy," he added, in reference to the death of 25-year-old Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini from a heart attack while playing at Pescara on 14 April.

But the Trotters boss was keen to stress that the Bolton midfielder would need time.

"I understand, because of the interest, that everybody thinks he's released from hospital so that's it, he's singing and dancing down the street. But people have got to understand there's room for continued improvement.

"His little lad hadn't been able to see him for a period so it's important we give them that time to be together."

Coyle also said he would leave it to Muamba to decide whether he wanted to visit his Bolton team-mates before the end of the season, as they fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

"That would be Fabrice and his family's decision. He'll not come under any pressure from us," Coyle said.

"Once he feels he's up to it then all good and well. If it's next season, great."

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