Bournemouth and Wales midfielder David Brooks. Pic: Getty Images.

Emotional Rob Page Leaves World Cup Spot Open For Cancer-Free David Brooks

By David Williams

Wales boss Rob Page has left the door to the World Cup open for David Brooks – after admitting the Bournemouth star’s return after cancer moved him to tears.

Brooks has signed a new four-year deal with the Cherries after making an astonishing recovery to full fitness just 10 months after being diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma.

The midfielder has yet to return to first team action, but such has been the 24-year-old’s rapid progress that Page is adamant a place in the Welsh squad for Qatar is a distinct possibility.

“I’ve seen footage of him training and it’s quite emotional watching it,” confessed Page, who himself is poised to sign a four-year contract with the FA of Wales as the permanent long-term successor to Ryan Giggs.

“What he’s had to go through to get back to that level, it’s incredible.

“I am just so pleased for him, so we want to take that pressure off him. We wouldn’t rush him back. We wouldn’t do that to Bournemouth and we wouldn’t do that to Brooksy.

“Bournemouth have been excellent throughout, how they’ve managed him from what he’s been through from day one.  To get him to the level of fitness he’s at, they have been sympathetic and brilliant.

David Brooks Targets Bournemouth Return After New Deal

“I don’t want to put any pressure on him. He’ll absolutely get there, whether it’s for September, the World Cup or March.

“He’s part of what we’re doing for Wales moving forward. Whether it’s next week or in six months we’re giving him that time to get back to full fitness.

“It’s not a broken leg he’s had to go through. It’s something really significant and an impact on all the body, not just part of the body.”

Brooks last played on September 29 of last year – when he managed 69 minutes for Bournemouth in a goalless draw away to Peterborough.

Within a couple of weeks, his future and health were thrown into doubt when he received his cancer diagnosis – Hodgkin lymphoma, an illness that starts with abnormalities in white blood cells.

The causes are unknown but treatment normally involves chemotherapy and energy-sapping recovery intervals between each round of treatment.

Brooks issued a positive update on his condition in January and then back in May gave the news all Bournemouth and Wales fans had been praying for – that his treatment was successful, and he was cancer free.

 

Since then, the Cherries have returned to the Premier League under the guidance of manager Paul Parker, whilst Page steered Wales to a World Cup play-off final victory over Ukraine and their first appearance at a tournament finals since 1958.

“It was lovely to see in the video what is means to Brooksy to be back playing football and what it means to him,” added Page.

“To see what he was getting out of it was fantastic. He’s going to be a massive player for us again in the future and the squad love him to bits.”

Page is also hoping another of his players newly restored to the Premier League – Fulham’s Harry Wilson – is on the road to recovery in time for the World Cup in November.

Wilson suffered a knee injury in pre-season and has yet to appear for his club but Page added: “I’ve asked the question whether he’s going to be fit by September.

“Perhaps that’s a little bit unrealistic, but he’ll definitely be fine for Qatar.”

 

 

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