DAVID Brooks thanked his teammates for securing Premier League safety with games to spare – believing that it afforded him the opportunity to get more minutes under his belt.

After almost two years of hardship and recovery following a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2021, Brooks returned to make six appearances near the end of the season.

Once Cherries were mathematically confirmed to be safe, head coach Gary O’Neil handed Brooks a first start in 598 days against Manchester United following four cameos off the bench.

Brooks told the Daily Echo: “The lads have done exceptionally well over the course of the season and it's probably their efforts that have managed to allow me to get some minutes at the end of the year.

“I think obviously, if we were fighting relegation, to throw me in would have been a huge kind of risk for gaffer with what's gone on over the past two years.

“So credit to them.

“I can't thank him enough for doing that.

“Now, it's obviously just about keeping fit over the summer and trying to come back to cement our place.”

Brooks has been called up by Wales for the first time since October 2021, when the winger was diagnosed whilst on international duty.

The Red Dragons resume their European Championship qualifying campaign with a home game against Armenia on Friday, June 16 (7.45pm), with Brooks excited at the prospect.

“It's been I think probably about two years since I've last been involved, so really looking forward to it,” Brooks continued.

“That was obviously one of the aims to get back when I first got told I was cancer free.

“So that was one of the aims – (playing for Wales again) to try and get to the World Cup, which didn't happen.

“I'm really looking forward to it.”

International football also offers Brooks the opportunity to build further match fitness before reporting back to pre-season with Cherries at the start of July.

He explained: “I spent two years out, so there's never going to be a rest period over this kind of break that all the rest of the lads are going to have.

“They worked hard all season, I've just been trying to get fit, so it's my opportunity now to try and get even fitter and come back in pre-season and try and cement that spot.

“There's no real restrictions (on game time) - it's just until I can't run anymore, which obviously has been the case over the past two games.

“I've managed to get 55 in both or around that, so, yes, obviously just keep doing that and I'm sure I'll get fitter over time and I'll be running over the summer, just trying to get as fit as possible.”