DAVID BROOKS is in line for a Wales return in June following his cancer battle.
The Bournemouth ace, who has recovered from Stage-2 Hodgkin lymphoma, had a cameo as a substitute in the 3-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa last weekend after 536 days out.
Then Brooks, 25, scored a hat-trick in a 45-minute outing for the Cherries’ development side as they beat Portsmouth 5-2 in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Wales boss Robert Page has hailed Brooks’ powers of recovery but left the 21-cap star out of his squad for this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia because he felt it came too soon.
But Page has given Brooks the realistic target of a summer comeback for the Dragons, with Group D clashes versus Armenia and Turkey.
Page said: “We had a positive conversation. It’s a great achievement for him after what he has been through.
“He has had his first involvement, and it’s all about his rehab now and getting match fitness.
“It was unrealistic for him to come for these two games against Croatia and Latvia. But I have told him about how important he is for me — and to the future of Welsh football.
“There are camps in June, and he can’t wait to be a part of it again.
“He is an incredible talent, so to have someone like him coming back into the fold is great for all of us and gives us all a lift.”
Most read in Football
Brooks’ treble versus Pompey did not go unnoticed by his Wales team-mates, who are preparing for their opening qualifier in Split on Saturday.
Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham, a close pal of Brooks for club and country, said: “I was buzzing.
“I knew he had a game, and I was checking on my phone… one goal, David Brooks, two goals, three goals.
“I was slightly disappointed when I saw the goals themselves. I wouldn’t say it’s the most exhilarating hat trick I’ve ever seen in my life!
“But it was good to see, especially with what he’s gone through. And to have an amazing moment of coming on the other day for his first Premier League game back.”