By David Parsons
David Brooks has been handed an emotional return to the Wales camp for next month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Armenia and Turkey.
But while Wales head coach Rob Page was delighted to welcome back the Bournemouth playmaker, he was forced to exclude Luton Town skipper Tom Lockyer after his collapse in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Saturday.
— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) May 30, 2023
Lockyer was still undergoing tests at hospital on Tuesday after his unexplained collapse in the eighth minute of the game against Coventry City.
He had to watch his side reach the Premier League via a penalty shoot-out from his hospital bed.
“I had a 20 minute conversation with him yesterday (Monday) and he’s fine,” said Page.
“You don’t like to see any player go down injured. Because of how he went down, you do wonder what the reasons were.
“He is in good hands at the minute and it’s for Luton to make a statement with regards to what they are doing. For us it’s just about getting him fit and ready for our camp in September.”
While Page said his back room medical team would do all they could to assist Luton Town on Lockyer, he also added they could all take a huge pat on the back when Brooks joins the camp in Portugal next week.
BREAKING! Wales announce their squad to face Armenia and Turkey, with David Brooks returning to the squad for the first time since recovering from cancer. pic.twitter.com/Rry1tkQTro
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 30, 2023
Brooks was confirmed as having Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma in October, 2021 a week after withdrawing from the Welsh squad the week before due to illness.
“We were all passing comment on how he looked and trained. We had a conversation with the medical team, and they decided there and then to take him for tests,” said Page.
“It was those tests that identified what he had. He has been grateful to the medical team, and rightly so, and they deserve a lot of credit and now it’s just great for us all to see him back in the place he’s in.”
Brooks announced in May last year that after treatment he was now cancer free and he returned to Premier League action with The Cherries in March.
“I wanted to pick him in March. He’d played some minutes before that camp and I wanted to get him involved as soon as possible,” added Page.
“He was definitely part of the changes I wanted to make post-World Cup and the way we want to play. I get that it was too quick, too soon, and it was more beneficial for him to stay behind and play for Bournemouth Under-23s in a game that was organised for him.
“But now it’s different situation. He’s back fit and starting games in the Premier League and he’s got the quality to be in our plans moving forward.
“I’ve touched base with him by text and he can’t wait to get on camp and meet up with the players again in what is going to be an emotional reunion.”
Skipper Aaron Ramsey is set to miss a fourth game in a row with Nice in Ligue I in France, but Page insists his slight calf muscle tear won’t stop him from playing next month along with Neco Williams, still recovering from a broken jaw, and Danny Ward, overcoming a dislocated finger.
“He can’t wait to get back in the camp” 💪
Rob Page says David Brooks is ‘big to the plans’ that he has for the Wales squad moving forwards ⏩ pic.twitter.com/VF4zSL8mCg
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 30, 2023