EDDIE Howe admitted Cherries had missed the quality of creative lynchpin David Brooks after failing to unlock the Cardiff City defence.

The in-form Brooks missed the trip to the Welsh capital due to an ankle injury which flared up after he scored the second goal in Cherries’ 4-0 win over Chelsea on Wednesday.

Former Manchester City youngster Brooks has netted six goals and provided four assists in 22 Premier League appearances since joining for £10million from Sheffield United last summer.

In the absence of the 21-year-old, who is set for a month on the sidelines, Cherries carved out few opportunities against Cardiff despite enjoying 73 per cent of possession and lost 2-0.

And boss Howe could not deny Brooks’s injury had been a major body blow.

He told the Daily Echo: “You are always going to miss players who have done well for you over a period of time.

“David has done very well this season. He has a creative eye and an ability to find the right pass at the right moment and that was missing for us today.

“We missed his intelligence and ability to pick up good positions in attacking areas. We really struggled to break down Cardiff and penetrate their wall of defenders.

“Someone like him and Callum (Wilson) would have been useful today.”

Meanwhile, fresh speculation yesterday emerged surrounding Brooks’s future.

In mid-January, The Sun had claimed Manchester United and Tottenham were readying moves for the Warrington-born ace.

And now The Mirror reports Spurs are “preparing a £50m summer bid” in order to “head off interest from other clubs including Manchester United”.

The tabloid also stated United “could make their own summer bid”.

In the aftermath of last month’s rumours, Brooks had underlined his standpoint in an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo.

He said: “I signed a four-year contract with Bournemouth and that’s all I’m thinking about, as well as training hard, putting in performances and trying to help the team do as well as possible.

“Speculation is nothing – it’s for the newspapers and things like that.

“It’s different if a bid comes in (for a player) but this is all rumours and is nothing to do with me.”