Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba is in a stable but critical condition following a cardiac arrest, the club has said.

A joint statement released by the club and the Barts and the London NHS Trust, said: "Fabrice Muamba's heart condition is stable, but he remains critically ill in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital. The family is grateful to the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time."

The news comes after the player's fiancee urged fans to pray for the 23-year-old.

The club's manager, Owen Coyle, and chairman, Phil Gartside, have visited the hospital again. Coyle said he hoped there would be a "happy outcome".

It has emerged that paramedics could not get the midfielder's heart to start beating on its own for almost two hours after he collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup tie.

He fell to the ground at White Hart Lane at 6.11pm on Saturday in front of millions of television viewers watching Bolton's quarter-final clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Paramedics desperately tried to resuscitate him but were unable to start his heart working by itself again until he reached London Chest Hospital, in Bethnal Green, east London, at 8pm.

He remains in an induced coma in intensive care at the hospital, which is seven miles away from the stadium.

Muamba's fiancee, who goes by the name Shauna Muamba on Twitter and is mother to their son Joshua, told fans on the social networking site: "God is in control. Please keep @fmuamba in ur prayers xx"

She later added: "Please keep praying for @fmuamba its really helping I can feel it xx". Another post said: "2 everyone out there thank u so much for all the love and support collectively as a family we appreciate it all. Plz continue 2 pray 4 fab x"