02/05/2012 15:39 BST | Updated 02/07/2012 06:12 BST

Fabrice Muamba Attends Bolton Wanderers V Tottenham Hotspur Premier League Clash

Fabrice Muamba has made his first public appearance since collapsing with a near-fatal cardiac arrest in March.

The Bolton midfielder attended his club's game against Tottenham Hotspurs on Wednesday, just 46 days after nearly dying at White Heart Lane.

Before the game, the player walked out on to the pitch to huge applause. The emotion was clear, with Muamba wiping tears from his face as he waved to the crowd. His fiance watched from the stands.

Speaking to Sky Sports before the match, the 24-year-old said: "I'm overwhelmed with the support. I'm just happy that I'm here."

"The Reebok is a special place, and I'm very happy and very excited about today's game. I really wanted to come and support the boys."

PICTURES: Scroll down to see a gallery of Muamba's return

When asked about the national outpouring of good will following his collapse, Muamba said: "The support helped me every single day. I've still got seven boxes to go through of well-wishers cards."

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you the whole country."

Asked about his health, the footballer said: "I'm OK. I wish I was playing today but I'm sure they [the team] will give their best."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports it was "fantastic" to see Fabrice.

"The last time I saw him he was being wheeled down the tunnel. I never thought I'd see him again. It was desperate. It looked like a situation that could be retrieved. It's fantastic that he's back."

Following Muamba's appearance at the Reebok, Twitter paid tribute, including a tweet from his girlfirend, Shauna:

Muamba, whose heart stopped beating independently for 78 minutes, was discharged from the London Chest Hospital 30 days after he was admitted, having collapsed in the 41st minute of the White Hart Lane fixture.

OPINION: What do you think about Muamba's return? Post your comments below

Earlier, Bolton manager Owen Coyle confirmed the former England Under-21 international's presence on the club's website.

"We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to welcome Fabrice and his family back to the Reebok," said the Scot.

"It's fitting the match is between these two clubs and he can attend. I know Fabrice is very keen to show his appreciation to both sets of fans for their support."

The midfielder has continued his rehabilitation at his Cheshire home, although it is still not known whether he will play professional football again.

Bolton lie third from bottom in the Premier League relegation zone on 34 points, although a draw tonight will lift them above QPR. A win for Tottenham meanwhile will take them to within a point of fourth-place north London rivals Arsenal in third.

Muamba's return to the Reebok

Bolton Wanderers Fabrice Muamba on the pitch

Tottenham and Bolton players react after Muamba collapses:

Bolton Wanderers Fabrice Muamba on the pitch