David Brooks 'committed' to Wales after starring for England U20s

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales in Los Angeles
David Brooks
David Brooks missed a part of the 2017-18 season because of glandular fever
Friendly international: Mexico v Wales
Venue: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California Date: Tuesday, 29 May Kick-off: 02:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

David Brooks says he is fully committed to Wales after his displays for England's Under-20s raised doubts about his international future.

The Sheffield United forward, 20, helped England win the Toulon Tournament last year.

But having won two full caps for Wales, Brooks insists he always wanted to play for his mother's country of birth.

"I'm committed to Wales. I'm not looking or have any interest in going back to England," he said.

Speaking in California, where Wales face Mexico next week, Brooks added: "I wouldn't be travelling across the world if I didn't want to be here.

"I've just got to work hard here to get in the manager's plans in the future."

Brooks has enjoyed an excellent season with club and country, impressing with Sheffield United and catching the eye in his two appearances for Wales.

He was named man of the match in his second international, a 1-1 draw against Panama in November.

Brooks is still eligible to play for England because both his senior appearances for Wales have been in friendly matches - but he is adamant there is no turning back.

"I wanted to play for Wales," he said.

"Going away with England was a good stepping stone for my career but I always wanted to play for Wales and thankfully I got the opportunity."

Brooks' exploits for England's Under-20s meant it was a rather confusing start to his international career.

The former Manchester City academy player was named the player of the tournament as England triumphed in Toulon last summer, but he was only named in their squad 11 minutes after he withdrew for Wales.

According to the player himself, however, the whole episode was a result of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

"I hadn't been called up for any international teams," Brooks said.

"I had expressed my interest in playing for Wales, but it hadn't come around at the time and when England offered for me to go the Toulon tournament, I accepted.

"I'd had no acknowledgement of being in the Wales squad, no one told me and when the squad came out, I'd already made plans to go away with England.

"It was a bit of a misunderstanding on the social media front. I'd already agreed with England, so I had to fulfil the agreement I'd made and thankfully after that Wales got in touch and it hadn't put them off that I'd played for England.

"I'm very thankful for that and to Rob Page [Wales Under-21s manager] for being so understanding."

Mother's tears of pride

David Brooks (second right) comes on for his Wales debut in France, alongside Ben Woodburn (second left) and Ethan Ampadu (right)
David Brooks (second right) comes on for his Wales debut in France, alongside Ben Woodburn (second left) and Ethan Ampadu (right)

Brooks' sparkling performances for Sheffield United and Wales' Under-21s earned him a first senior cap in November's friendly defeat against France, under then manager Chris Coleman.

It was a particularly emotional moment for Brooks' mother from Llangollen in north Wales, Cathryn, who cried tears of pride when she learned of her son's first senior call-up.

"She did. I think she knew before me," said Brooks.

"I came in from training and the squad had already been announced. But none of the staff wanted to tell me at Sheffield United, they wanted me to find out for myself.

"Obviously when I found out I went and rang my mum straight away.

"She was already crying on the phone, bless her. She was delighted and it was obviously a big thing for the whole family.

"My nan and grandad still live in Llangollen. We still go up there when I can, when I get a day off from football.

"She [his mother] always had Welsh flags around the house, especially when the Euros were going on. She's a very proud Welsh woman."

Welsh football's bright future

Brooks' debut was clearly a momentous occasion for his family - and it was a significant moment for Wales too.

Also coming on for his debut from the bench at the Stade de France was Chelsea's highly-rated teenager Ethan Ampadu.

Another in his teens, Liverpool attacker Ben Woodburn, completed a triumvirate of substitutes whose appearance on the touchline in Paris represented for many the future of Welsh football.

"It was a very special moment, obviously the opponents and the stage it was on, it was an unbelievable time and place to make your debut," said Brooks.

"That was mine and Ethan's debut. I think Ben had made a few appearances prior to that but I've seen all the photos going around on social media, and it was a nice moment for me and Ethan to make our debut there.

"We're a close bunch of lads and it was a really nice moment."

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