Brooks insists he 'always aspired' to return to football

David Brooks insists he ‘always aspired’ to return to football after fighting back from cancer to make his first Bournemouth appearance in 536 days against Aston Villa… with the winger now desperate to help Gary O’Neil’s men avoid the drop

  • David Brooks was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2021
  • He made his first appearance for Bournemouth in 536 days against Aston Villa
  • Brooks insisted he was delighted to be back playing after such a difficult time

David Brooks insisted that he never doubted that he would get back to playing football, after he made his first appearance for Bournemouth since October 2021 when he was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma.  In May 2022, he received the all-clear.

‘I always aspired to get back since the diagnosis’ said the 25-year-old. ‘Watching from the sidelines last year to get back to the Premier League was a tough watch. 

‘You want to be a part of these things and I want to do everything I can to help Bournemouth stay up,’ added Brooks.

The Welshman came on to a round of applause from all four corners of Villa Park when he replaced Adam Smith in the 79th minute for his first appearance in 534 days and though he couldn’t help Bournemouth salvage something from the game, Brooks revealed that it was an emotional moment for him and his family.

‘It’s a bit of a weird emotion. I didn’t impact the game how I wanted to but on a personal note, the last 18 months have been a very difficult time. To get back out there and be a part of the team again was nice,’ said Brooks. 

David Brooks made his first appearance in 536 days for Bournemouth after fighting cancer

Cherries boss Gary O’Neil insisted he was ‘delighted’ to see Brooks back on the pitch

‘I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me through the time. I’d like to thank the Villa fans – even when I was warming up they were saying nice things and giving me a round of applause.’

Brooks also explained how he felt the 0-3 scoreline was harsh on the Cherries following their performance at Villa Park.

He added: ‘After their first goal we had a bit of pressure and after the first 20 minutes I thought we were the better team until about 60-70 minutes.

‘We had chances and Dom was getting in behind and I thought I felt like the goal was coming to come.

‘Their second goal knocked the wind out our sails and we didn’t crumble but it is tough when you have that many attackers on chasing the game to keep your defensive discipline. The two goals late on were a bit cheap.

Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil detailed that Brooks will spend the international break, playing for the Under 21s and focusing on improving his match fitness so that he can be available for longer.

‘Yes (it’s a new chapter), I’m delighted for David. He’s been on a really tough journey with his family. He’s worked his socks off to get to where he is at the moment and we obviously need to be sensible with his minutes,’ said O’Neil.

Brooks also thanked the Bournemouth and Aston Villa fans for the reception he received

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