EDDIE Howe hailed the mental fortitude of David Brooks after his first season in the Premier League’s school of hard knocks.

Creative talent Brooks has impressed for Cherries since his move from Sheffield United last summer, netting seven goals and providing five assists in 30 Premier League appearances.

The 21-year-old’s productive debut campaign in the top flight saw him named on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

But he also had to deal with a barrage of tough challenges from opposition defenders.

The Warrington-born star missed Saturday’s 1-0 over Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium due to an issue he picked up in the 3-3 draw at Southampton.

Howe said Brooks, who completed the full 90 minutes at St Mary’s, was on the end of several tackles that affected his ankle.

However, the Cherries boss insisted the Welsh footballer of the year had the mindset to cope with the physical treatment and could return against Crystal Palace on Sunday (3pm).

Discussing how the former Manchester City academy prospect had handled firm challenges, Howe said: “He has dealt with it really well. I don’t see it being an issue.

“Every time he has been kicked, he has got back up again and showed a great attitude to the game.

“I don’t think it has ever affected his mentality to the game at all.”

Howe added: “If you are putting yourself in a position to beat defenders and to create, naturally, you have to expect the physical side to come out but then seeing it as a compliment is the best way to look at it. Get up and do it again.

“I can only go back to when I was playing as a defender and the rare times I did get beaten, you respond in a true defensive way.

“You have to find a different way, whether that is being more physical or being a little bit more intelligent with your defending but going in robustly on attacking players will always be part of the game.”

Brooks is one of three Cherries charges in the 20 most fouled Premier League players in 2018-19, winning 46 free-kicks. Jefferson Lerma and Ryan Fraser are above him on the list with 49 and 66 fouls won, respectively.

Asked if the firm approach to stopping technically-gifted players like Brooks would be the norm in his career, Howe said: “Naturally, you could see from Saturday’s game how physical and how competitive the game is that that will always be the case.

“The talented players, the people who go by defenders will always get kicked as Ryan (Fraser) proved on Saturday.

“He is going to have to face that the rest of his career.”