Saturday 24 March 2018

Muamba won't believe I bagged a brace - Wheater

DAVID Wheater curbed his status as Bolton's number one practical joker to such an extent he did not even celebrate his first Premier League game for the club on Saturday.

Life at the Reebok Stadium is slowly returning to normality following Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest.

It cannot be the same though, not with Muamba still in intensive care.

And for all Wheater's delight at the opening effort of his brace in a 2-1 win over Blackburn that took Bolton out of the bottom three, he did not feel it was appropriate to mark it in a manner that would not have raised an eyebrow seven days before.

"I started to run off and Darren Pratley told me to calm down," said Wheater. "Scoring is the best feeling in the world but sometimes you have to calm your celebrations when other things are happening."

Wheater has known Muamba for a decade, having appeared in various England youth teams with the 23-year-old.

And he admitted the numbness he felt at White Hart Lane in the wake of Muamba's collapse.

"I like to laugh and joke but I didn't know what to do last Saturday," he said. "I was walking like a zombie.


"Everyone was. Win, lose or draw, I like to try and keep the lads happy and have a mess about. You couldn't last week. It was weird.

"The few days we had off at the start of last week were hard. There were long days thinking about it.

"Once we got back into training, the lads had a smile on their face and we knew we had to win for Fabrice."

Now they face a testing occasion as they go to Tottenham for that re-arranged FA Cup quarter-final.

The game does offer Bolton's players a chance to see their team-mate, who has amazed specialists with his recovery over the past eight days.

And, if he gets a chance, Wheater will tell Muamba all about the first brace of his professional career.

"He won't believe it," said the centre-half. "I don't think anyone does."

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