By Gareth James
David Brooks’ return to first team duty felt a privilege for the man who selected him for club action last weekend.
The Wales international was picked on the bench by Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil for his team’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool last Saturday.
It was Brooks’ first inclusion in a match day squad for 525 days after his recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Brooks was named as an unused substitute during Bournemouth’s victory over last year’s Champions League finalists with Phil Billing scoring the only goal in the first half.
His last matchday involvement was 525 days prior, when he was named as an unused substitute in Bournemouth’s win over his former club, Sheffield United.
Welcome back, David Brooks! Returning to the Bournemouth squad after 528 days ❤️🍒
The midfielder was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma in October 2021, and was given the all-clear towards the end of last season. pic.twitter.com/cjSKjJ5eVH
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 11, 2023
O’Neil said: “I felt privileged to be the one to inform him. For him, his family, and what they’ve been through, it was a journey.”
“I was absolutely thrilled for him.
“We need to be realistic about his capabilities at the moment. I really wanted to include him in the game, but unfortunately, the match didn’t go our way.”
Brooks’ Road to Recovery: From Injury Setback to Scoring Goals in Training
Following his all-clear in May, Brooks slowly regained his full fitness, although he suffered a setback with a hamstring injury in August.
When asked how he informed Brooks of his return to the Premier League.
The manager said Brooks had scored a goal during training on Wednesday in 11v11, prompting O’Neil to push for his involvement.
O’Neil added: “He was overjoyed and the boys were too, having been through a lot with him. Hopefully, we can get him even fitter.
“Brooks is an incredible player, and he has shown some remarkable moments in recent training. We are looking forward to having him back on the pitch.”
“He was pleased. I asked him to keep it under wraps. I thought it was important for him and everyone that the news be announced today.”
“It is nearly impossible to keep such news private these days, but I believe we were able to do so.”
“He was pleased, but he was probably a little worried that I might put him on after 30 minutes if someone got injured. However, I promised him that I would try not to. I didn’t say I wouldn’t.”
“I am thrilled. It was an incredible moment for him, and I look forward to seeing him back on the pitch.”
David Brooks is back in a Bournemouth squad for the first time in 525 days.
He announced in May that he is cancer-free ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9enEhp5CUY
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 11, 2023