By Paul Jones
David Brooks is set to get a Wales recall this summer after returning to action following cancer treatment.
Brooks returned to the pitch on Saturday 535 days after his last game, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute in Bournemouth’s 3-0 Premier League defeat at Aston Villa.
The 25-year-old was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2021 and revealed he was cancer-free last May.
Brooks stepped up his recovery with a first-half hat-trick in Bournemouth’s 5-2 win over Portsmouth in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Wales manager Rob Page, who left Brooks out of his squad for this week’s opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia, said: “I was over the moon when I saw his name on the (Bournemouth) team sheet.
“It’s just incredible and it gives everyone a real lift. It is a great achievement for him after what he has been through.
“He’s come back and now has had his first involvement. I’ve had a great conversation with him, it’s all about his rehab now and getting back to match fitness.
“It was unrealistic for him to come on for these two games against Croatia and Latvia. This camp has come too soon for him.
“But there are camps in June and he can’t wait to be a part of it again. He’s expressed that to me.”
David Brooks continues his remarkable return from cancer with a first-half hat-trick https://t.co/l6uc5qX2U8
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) March 22, 2023
Wales will meet Armenia and Turkey, the other two teams in Group D, in June.
Page added: “I have spoken to him about how important he is for me and to the future of Welsh football.
“He is an incredible talent, so to have someone like him coming back into the fold is great for all of us.”
There is a new look about Wales following Gareth Bale’s retirement from football and Chris Gunter, Joe Allen and Jonny Williams quitting the international scene.
Midfield trio Luke Harris, Jordan James and Ollie Cooper, as well as strikers Liam Cullen and Nathan Broadhead, are all uncapped.
Fulham youngster Harris was on standby for the 2022 World Cup and due to train with the squad in Qatar.
The 18-year-old Jersey-born player eventually withdrew from the standby list, leading to some Wales fans on social media questioning whether he was committed to the Dragons.
Page said: “I think it was miscommunication. He was never going to not commit to us.
“There were other complexities around it that had nothing to do with football.
“We have got a good player who adds a lot of value. It’s now about how we develop him and get him up the standards that the boys set in training.”
Brooks’ Bournemouth and Wales teammate Chris Mepham says he cannot wait to see his “inspirational” friend return to the international fold.
“It will be amazing when he’s back with Wales, it’s where he belongs, we’ve missed him and Wales have missed him,” Mepham said.
“He’s that player, he’s got the ability to create something out of nothing and he can only help Bournemouth and Wales.
“He’s a very special player and an inspiring person.”