Fabrice Muamba urges Christian Eriksen to ‘control his emotions’ on return to pitch with Brentford after cardiac arrest

    FABRICE MUAMBA believes Christian Eriksen will need to keep his emotions in check as he prepares to make his stunning return in the middle of a relegation scrap.

    Eriksen, 30, died for FIVE minutes after collapsing in Denmark’s opening game against Finland at last summer’s Euros.

    Eriksen will play his first competitive match on Saturday since suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020

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    Eriksen will play his first competitive match on Saturday since suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020Credit: Reuters
    Muamba has said Eriksen will have to 'control his emotions' when he returns

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    Muamba has said Eriksen will have to ‘control his emotions’ when he returnsCredit: Marc Aspland – The Times

    The former Tottenham midfielder looked likely to retire after his contract at Inter Milan ripped up as Italian laws prohibit players from playing with a pacemaker fitted on his heart.

    But after signing a short-term deal at Brentford, Eriksen is primed to make an astonishing return against Newcastle on Saturday.

    It will go down in history as one of football’s greatest ever comebacks and Brentford will hope it also marks a turning point in their season after no wins in eight games.

    And Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch in 2012 while playing for Bolton, believes Eriksen will need to quickly forget about the occasion as Brentford will be depending on him.

    Muamba, 33, told SunSport: “There is so much riding on him coming back and playing the game of football at the top level again.

    “That first couple of minutes will be like ‘okay, he’s back now’ – but Newcastle are fighting relegation.

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    “I don’t know how safe you want to play but Newcastle have invested a lot of money in the club and the squad and they want to stay up.

    “It will be about controlling his emotions. Both clubs are fighting relegation, that’s their No1 priority, like it or not.”

    Muamba was forced to retire aged 24 as his heart had to be resuscitated for 78 minutes after collapsing during an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham at White Hart Lane almost ten years ago.

    He received numerous defibrillator shocks both on the pitch and in the ambulance but did not regain full consciousness until three days after the incident.

    And while Eriksen’s experience brought back memories of that awful day, Muamba says he will be watching with happiness as he makes his comeback.

    He added: “I’m at a stage in my life now where I am at peace with it all. I don’t watch the game with envy.

    “Yes you have your moments but I am not looking at it thinking why is he still there playing.

    “Now and again you forget but you get reminded of it when a particular accident like this happens.

    Eriksen has featured in two friendly matches for Brentford's B team

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    Eriksen has featured in two friendly matches for Brentford’s B teamCredit: Rex

    “It brings back memories, feelings and emotions that you suppressed for a long time but you cannot help but feel them.

    “I’ll be watching with happiness but also very cautious because you don’t want anything to happen at the same time.”

    With all the talk being about Eriksen’s heart, the Danish star said he ‘cannot wait’ to be judged just on his performances again.

    His desire to return to football led him to train in his homeland before being invited back to Ajax – the club which handed him his professional debut – to build up his fitness.

    But while his return could be considered to be a huge risk, Muamba believes it’s up to Eriksen to not let his accident define the rest of his career.

    Muamba claimed: “As a player you still have that hunger in you and unfinished business. His comeback is great but will be monitored.

    “Every single thing he does in the game of football will be scrutinised very hard because of his safety. You don’t want the accident to overshadow his quality as a player.

    “He could come back and play two games and he’s not the same Christian anymore or come back to flourish and be an even better player.

    Eriksen was presented to the Brentford fans before the home game against Crystal Palace

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    Eriksen was presented to the Brentford fans before the home game against Crystal PalaceCredit: Getty

    “Come the end of the season where Brentford finish in the table you can say whether he made an impact.”

    Being the first player to return to competitive football after suffering a cardiac arrest will make Eriksen a case study for future players who suffer heart problems.

    But Muamba says the Premier League and FA will need to look at implementing a rule in future to protect players from themselves.

    He added: “Going forward they have to assess the situation and put some type of law on it.

    “Everybody’s medical history is different but in a sense you can look at Eriksen as a case study.

    “It is something the FA needs to look at, the Premier League needs to look at.

    “Our league is more intense and it needs to look at making a rule which is acceptable for everybody.

    “Yes, you want to play, but safety is also the number one priority.”

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