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David Brooks: World Cup target for Wales and Bournemouth winger after cancer all-clear

David Brooks (centre) celebrates Bournemouth’s promotion to the Premier League with Wales team-mate Chris Mepham (right) and Ben Pearson

Bournemouth’s David Brooks is targeting a return to the Wales team in time for a potential World Cup appearance after recovering from cancer.

He has not played since but, if Wales win their World Cup play-off final next month, he will have until November to regain his place in the squad.

“We have had those conversations already,” said Wales boss Robert Page.

“Even months ago when he was diagnosed, the bigger picture was, all being well, to do this and his doctor was top class with it all.

“We spoke to the specialists involved and they told us what the pattern has been with recent cases.

“We have already had those conversations with him. Dangling that carrot and incentive is great motivation for him.”

Brooks had established himself as an important player for club and country by the time he was diagnosed with the illness, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system, an important part of the immune system.

The attacking midfielder, who has been capped 21 times and made three appearances for Wales at Euro 2020, last played in Bournemouth’s goalless draw against Peterborough on 29 September, when he came off after 69 minutes.

Bournemouth have gone on to secure automatic promotion from the Championship this season, with Brooks well enough to join in with the celebrations earlier this month.

With a return to the Premier League to look forward to next season, Brooks could also be playing in a World Cup by November.

For that to happen, Wales must beat Scotland or Ukraine in their play-off final at the Cardiff City Stadium on 5 June.

If Wales are successful in their attempt to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958, Page hopes they will have Brooks available later this year.

“We will have to manage it,” he said. “It’s not black and white.

“Would we want him part of the World Cup squad? Absolutely, he’s a talented player.

“It is great news first and foremost, fantastic that he has been given the all-clear.

“I have invited him on the [training] camp on Monday. I have left it up to him whether he wants to come.

“He is not going to come and train of course. We are sympathetic with Bournemouth and will build him up to that position to get back to playing again.

“We’ve invited him back to be with his mates and just get him away to be refreshing for him. We will wait and see if he comes.”

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