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Confident Muamba eyes England call
Published : 26 Mar 2010 13:11:06
The England Under-21 international is oozing confidence, to such an extent that last week he spoke of his desire of stepping up to full international level under Fabio Capello. After playing alongside Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner and Joe Hart in last summer's European Championships, Muamba has watched them all progress and become senior England players. The 21-year-old is naturally hoping his time will come, but for now his sole goal is on keeping Bolton in the Premier League. And Muamba feels with Coyle at the helm, it has become a question of when and not if it happens, with Wanderers eight points clear of the relegation zone. "We'll definitely stay up. Another two wins and we should be fine," was Muamba's forthright response when asked as to Bolton's chances. "Since the gaffer has come in things have changed, and you can see the way we have been playing and the confidence in the team. "That's credit to the manager and the staff, and hopefully we can continue this way for the rest of the season. "I know I've enjoyed playing under him so far. I would say I've been in the best form of my career. "That's down to the manager and the confidence he has instilled in me. I'm just so happy he is here." Coyle has overseen a revival at the Reebok Stadium as Bolton were staring at the prospect of relegation under Gary Megson prior to his departure at the end of December. In the 13 league matches since Coyle's arrival from Burnley, Bolton have kept five clean sheets after failing to manage even one under Megson in the first half of the season. "It's the way he speaks to the players, the way he goes about his business as a manager, which is different to the previous regime," assessed Muamba. "He talks to everybody, he gives them confidence, so when you get a chance you make sure you take it. "I've been fortunate to play every game under him, and I now hope to carry on the way we have been playing, and finish higher than we did last year." Bolton are currently 14th, in comparison to their 13th-placed spot of nearly a year ago, so progression is not beyond them. Champions and current table-toppers Manchester United bar their way at the Reebok Stadium - but an undaunted Muamba feels victory is not beyond Bolton. Coyle's side are unbeaten in their last six at home, conceding just the one goal, with Muamba adding: "We believe we can win. "This game will be a real test as to how far we have come under Owen Coyle, but I'm sure we'll rise to the occasion. "Since he came in we think we can beat anybody right now. We've got this mentality which we can take into the game to get a result. "Manchester United might be on top of their game, but we're a Bolton team on top of our game at home. "If we play the way we've been playing, we know we can give anybody a game on any given day." The major test will be shackling Wayne Rooney, should he play as there are suggestions he may be rested due to a niggly knee injury. With 33 goals this season, and 17 in his last 12 matches, Rooney already has Muamba's vote for player of the season. "Not just me, if you ask any player in the Premier League they will tell you he's the player they fear the most this season," assessed Muamba. "He's probably the best striker in the world right now. His work rate for the team and goals tally, it says everything about the guy and his personality. "Hopefully on Saturday we can keep him quiet for 90 minutes." Although Gary Cahill is poised to end his two-month injury lay-off, Coyle is without the suspended Gretar Steinsson, with five others on the treatment table in Stuart Holden, Chris Basham, Gavin McCann, Sean Davis and Joey O'Brien. Rooney Specials. Click here to bet.