SOUTHAMPTON boss Russell Martin expressed his joy in working with David Brooks, insisting: “I would sign Brooksy to a contract that he has to stay with me until he retires.”

Brooks joined Saints on loan from Cherries last month and has made a good early impression, notably providing two assists in a 5-3 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

The Wales international is under contract at Cherries until the summer of 2026, with the Dorset club adamant he will return from his loan and be a part of their squad next season.

Head coach Andoni Iraola had been keen to keep Brooks for the rest of this campaign, but reluctantly allowed him to drop down to the Championship in a bid for more regular game-time.

Discussing his January recruit, Saints boss Martin said: “If I had the opportunity, I would sign Brooksy to a contract that he has to stay with me until he retires.

“But it’s not an option. There is no option at all at the moment, so we are really enjoying working with him. 

“As a player and as a person, I think he is fantastic. He’s even better than I thought he was, and I had a really high opinion of him in the first place. 

“He ended up playing two positions for us on Saturday and did both with real quality and class. 

“I can’t speak highly enough of him and Joe Rothwell for their professionalism, their mentality and their quality."

Martin also revealed he sought advice from Wales international Joe Allen, his former player at Swansea City, on whether Brooks would be a good addition at Saints.

"Once Joe Allen tells you someone’s a top person and a top player, then you know what you’re getting," said Martin.

“(Assistant manager) Gilly (Matt Gill) spoke to him. Joe’s opinion for us is like if he says it then it’s sold to us. 

“You look at Brooksy and what he’s come through and you think you would love to work with him. 

“We phoned Joe and he said, ‘if you have the chance, do it’.  That was it, job done.

"Thankfully, Jason (Wilcox, director of football) worked with him as a kid as well (at Manchester City), so he knows him as a person and a player. 

“It’s worked out really well so far, but I’m sure there’s lots more to come from him. 

“He’s still learning what we are doing and the way we do things. Hopefully, he’s enjoying it as much as we are."

Brooks will be hoping for his first Saints start, away at Bristol City this evening.