Rob Edwards held a meeting with his Luton players to discuss their 'inspirational' captain

Rob Edwards pays an emotional tribute to Luton Town captain Lockyer after his cardiac arrest – with ‘inspirational leader’ now out of hospital having had defibrillator fitted

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  • Tom Lockyer, 29, suffered a cardiac arrest during Luton’s match at Bournemouth
  • It has been a whirlwind week for team-mates and his boss, Rob Edwards 
  • CHRIS SUTTON: Nuno Espirito Santo’s appointment at Forest is underwhelming – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off 

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It has been a week of raw emotion at Luton Town. An awful, stressful week but ultimately a happy one.

From the horror of Tom Lockyer’s cardiac arrest on the pitch at Bournemouth and the relief of his swift resuscitation and return home to the immense depth of gratitude for those who helped save his life and those who showed they cared.

It has been a whirl but a hint of normality settled upon the training base and some of those feelings were beginning to crystallise as boss Rob Edwards spoke publicly about it for the first time.

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‘We have to celebrate that Tom is here with us and the amazing work everyone did,’ said Edwards ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Newcastle United.

‘He’s an incredible man. A brilliant footballer who has dragged himself through the leagues to become a Premier League footballer. He’s a leader and an inspirational figure.

Rob Edwards held a meeting with his Luton players to discuss their 'inspirational' captain

Rob Edwards held a meeting with his Luton players to discuss their ‘inspirational’ captain

Luton Town's Tom Lockyer collapsed in the second half against Bournemouth on Saturday

Luton Town’s Tom Lockyer collapsed in the second half against Bournemouth on Saturday

‘He is one of the most important players this club has ever had, and his name will be sung for a long, long time by our supporters.

‘We’ve spoken about that and what he means to us. We want to embody that as a team. If we can all act, behave, play like Tom then we’re going the right way.’

Edwards made sure he heaped praise on others, particularly the medical teams of both clubs and paramedics who resuscitated Lockyer within two minutes. ‘They saved him,’ he said.

Also, on his captain’s family for the way they coped with the trauma. On Lockyer’s pregnant partner Taylor, who was at the Vitality Stadium to see the game. 

‘They were brave and supportive,’ said Edwards. ‘Tom’s dad Steve has been unbelievable. Incredible people, it must have been so frightening for them.’

Lockyer is continuing his rehabilitation at home after being discharged from hospital

Lockyer is continuing his rehabilitation at home after being discharged from hospital

There were special mentions, too, for Bournemouth’s Philip Billing, who was first on the scene and called for urgent help, and David Brooks, a Wales team-mate and close friend who went to hospital to comfort Lockyer’s family. And for all the fans present. ‘We will have a special bond with that football club going forward,’ he said.

Among a deluge of support came daily messages from Steve Cooper even though he was being sacked by Nottingham Forest.

When Edwards reached Lockyer in hospital on Saturday evening, he found him flat out, hooked up to monitors but ‘chatting, smiling and fairly jovial’ and in good hands. ‘It was nice to give him a hug and a kiss, and sit and chat for a little bit,’ he said.

Lockyer sent messages to reassure his team-mates, joking that he would do anything to get out of the Christmas party, scheduled for after the Bournemouth game.

Edwards gave his players the time off as planned. They reconvened on Tuesday for a light training session. 

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The Luton boss called another meeting on Friday to tell his players Lockyer was back home after an operation to fit a defibrillator and they turned thoughts towards Newcastle.

They discussed Lockyer, what he meant to them and how they might harness the emotion at Kenilworth Road without letting it sweep them away. Centre forward Carlton Morris set about planning to visit his mate.

‘It’s baby steps now, I don’t want to keep pecking his head,’ said Edwards. 

‘He’s tired and he’s clearly been through a lot. He just has to recover now at home. All I care about is his health.’





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