Wales boss Robert Page has left the World Cup door open for David Brooks after admitting he saw the Bournemouth striker return to training after cancer left him emotional.
Brooks signed a new four-year contract with the Cherries this week, just 10 months after being diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma.
Bournemouth boss Scott Parker said Brooks is “certainly heading in the right direction” ahead of November’s World Cup in Qatar, although no deadline has been set for his return to action.
Great to see 💪— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) July 20, 2022
“I’ve seen footage of him training and it’s quite emotional to watch him,” said Page, who himself is set to sign a four-year contract with the Football Association of Wales as permanent successor to Ryan Giggs.
“What he had to go through to get back to this level is unbelievable. I’m so happy for him, so we want to take that pressure off him.
“We wouldn’t rush it. We wouldn’t do that at Bournemouth and we wouldn’t do that at Brooksy.
“Bournemouth have been excellent throughout, how they’ve dealt with it from what it’s been through since day one.
“To get him to the level of fitness he is at, they’ve been friendly and brilliant.”
Brooks, 21 times capped, has not played since Bournemouth’s draw at Peterborough on September 29 last year.
Brooks was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks later, but announced in May that he had been given the green light after completing treatment.
The 25-year-old met Page’s side in June as Wales qualified for their first World Cup since 1958.
On whether Brooks could be part of his 26-man squad in Qatar, Page, speaking to the PA news agency while on behalf of M&S Food’s Eat Well, Play Well campaign, said: “I don’t want to put pressure on him.
“He’s absolutely going to get there, whether it’s for September, the World Cup or March.
“He’s part of what we do for Wales going forward. Whether it’s next week or six months from now, we’re giving him time to get back to full fitness.
“It wasn’t a broken leg that he had to go through. It’s something really important and impacts the whole body, not just one part of the body.
“It was nice to see in the video what it means for Brooksy to come back and play football.”
Page also gave an update on Fulham’s Harry Wilson, who suffered a knee injury in pre-season and is set to miss next month’s Nations League games against Belgium and Poland.
“I asked (Fulham) if he will be fit by September,” Page said.
“It may be a bit unrealistic, but he will definitely be fine for Qatar.”
:: Robert Page works with M&S Food’s Eat Well, Play Well campaign, giving children the chance to win a training masterclass with the Wales teams. Visit marksandspencer.com/football to find out more.