Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba has begun talking to family members and is breathing independently but remains in intensive care as his condition continues to improve.

The 23-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest during Saturday's FA Cup quarterfinal against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, and was subsequently rushed to London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green.

While his condition remains serious, Muamba has shown sign of progression in his recovery, having exchanged words with family members and breathing without the aid of a ventilator.

A joint statement from Bolton and the hospital said: "Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at The London Chest Hospital. He is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening.

"He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He has also been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately.

"These are all positive signs of progress. However, his condition remains serious and the medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him.

"His family and club would like to thank the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time."

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien was the latest fellow professional to visit Muamba, following the visit of Ashley Cole earlier on Monday

"We are happy and we keep praying for him so that he can come back and enjoy his football," Essien told Sky Sports News.

"The family is staying strong and the boy is strong himself so that is a good thing. On the pitch he is a very strong guy and off it he is always smiling."

Saturday's incident has united the football community in support of Muamba, and his fiancee Shauna Magunda paid special tribute to all well-wishers on Twitter.

"All your prayers are working people thank u so so much. Every prayer makes him stronger. To God be the glory," she wrote.

Manager Owen Coyle echoed her sentiments, praising the football family for coming together.

"When situations like this occur, there is a real strength, a real unity and a real togetherness. As a family they are showing that and again that has been boosted by everybody else's support," he said.

Wanderers' scheduled Premier League game with Aston Villa on Tuesday has already been postponed, with an opportunity for reflection taking place at the Reebok Stadium tonight.

As Muamba's condition improves, questions will begin to be asked over Bolton's continued presence in the FA Cup, with their last-eight clash with Spurs yet to be rearranged.

Club captain Kevin Davies said: "Until we get more information about Fabrice's condition, I don't think anything really matters.

"I know they were keen to get the game off tomorrow night [against Aston Villa], which is a no-brainer. From then on, we don't really know as players.

"It's all about Fabrice and his family really. The football side just doesn't come into our thoughts."

The weekend's match with Blackburn Rovers is also in doubt, with opposite manager Steve Kean open to postponing the game given recent events.

"I think the whole footballing world has come together. Whatever we have to do we would only respect what Bolton want us to do next weekend," he said.

Topics:
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Fabrice Muamba