Monday 19 March 2018

Spurs players have heart checks ahead of Stoke tie

TOTTENHAM Hotspur players underwent heart tests yesterday and were offered "whatever support they need" to cope with the trauma of seeing Fabrice Muamba suffer a cardiac arrest in the middle of their FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers.

But Harry Redknapp also cautioned his players that there was no question of Spurs' fixture against Stoke City tomorrow being postponed.

Instead, the Tottenham Hotspur manager has demanded his team focus on their return to Premier League action.

"The players have all demanded cardiac screening today," said Spurs consultant cardiologist Sanjay Sharma, explaining that all underwent electrocardiogram, ultrasound and cardiac-examination procedures.

Jermain Defoe was among the players to be visibly shaken by what they saw when Bolton Wanderers' former England U21 midfielder collapsed. But Redknapp said yesterday that Defoe was by no means alone in being moved by the scenes.

Indeed, with Tottenham calling in counsellors for their players, there are signs that for some there may be a delayed psychological impact.

Redknapp said: "What happened on Saturday to Fabrice was a shock to everyone. It is possible that the effects of this could hit some quicker than others and despite these difficult circumstances we all have to pull together and carry on with our season.

"We will be providing players with whatever support they need in order to help them move on from what has happened, while obviously always keeping Fabrice at the forefront of our minds and willing him to make a recovery."

There was a stark illustration of how players' minds have been affected by the episode when Benoît Assou-Ekotto described his thoughts.

"When I saw him lying on the pitch at White Hart Lane, I was scared: scared for him, scared for his family, his friends and all those people who know him and who care about him," said the Spurs defender.

"I was also scared because he was just like me.

"He is young, supposedly fit, an athlete who a few seconds ago was running up and down the same pitch as me."

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