Fabrice Muamba has the ‘buzz’ for coaching at Bolton Wanderers

Muamba made 147 appearances for the Whites but was forced to cut his playing career short after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter final tie against Tottenham in March 2012.

The 34-year-old says the thought of returning to football was initially too “painful”, but he eventually decided to pursue a career in coaching.

Despite having played at a high level, he found opportunities hard to come by and plenty of several setbacks.

Muamba told The Coaches’ Voice: “I completed my (UEFA) A Licence just before Covid, but then I found it really difficult to get a job. I was doing lots of interviews for academy roles I knew I could do, but I didn’t have any luck.

“There were too many occasions when I saw the person who got the job was a friend of someone at the club, so I found that really disheartening.

“There were also times when I got the impression that someone in the club didn’t want an ex-player coming in, as they thought they might be too big a presence and disrupt things. In my opinion, it should be former players teaching the next generation – or at least helping!

“I got knocked back so many times over the course of more than a year of trying that, to be honest, I had second thoughts about coaching.”

The Bolton News: Muamba made 147 appearances for the Whites before his career was cut shortMuamba made 147 appearances for the Whites before his career was cut short (Image: PA)

But Muamba’s patience paid off last summer when he was given the chance to return to the University of Bolton Stadium a decade after hanging up his boots.

He added: “The opportunity to join Bolton came up in the summer of 2022, which I was delighted about. I was ready to give coaching a proper go.

“I’m in charge of the Under-15s, and it’s been a great learning experience for me. I’ve been taking sessions, developing the team’s tactics, doing analysis sessions, everything.

“I’ve started to get the buzz from coaching. I understand why people love it. When you put on a session with the next match in mind, and you see your work come together out on the pitch on a Saturday, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s even better than winning as a player.”

The 34-year-old is relishing his role at Wanderers and says he has learned a lot about himself while watching the action from the sidelines.

“Before I got into coaching, I only ever wanted football to be played beautifully,” he explained. “But as I’ve built up my knowledge and done my badges, I’ve realised I’m much more pragmatic.

“If a game needs my team to go long, then I’m happy to do it. Whatever gives my team the best chance of winning.

“I played under some really good managers, and that has only helped me become a better coach. In much the same way, I got some experience of bad coaches, too.

“Now I can draw on those experiences to make sure I avoid doing certain things as a coach myself.”