WALES forward David Brooks is eyeing an injury-free build-up to Euro 2021 after a nightmare season on the sidelines.

The 22-year-old has been out since suffering an ankle injury in Bournemouth’s pre-season fixture at Brentford.

Brooks has not only sat out the Cherries’ battle against the drop in the Premier League but had to watch on as Wales pushed for Euro 2020 qualification.

Ryan Giggs’ men secured a spot in the tournament only for the coronavirus pandemic to push it back a year.

That may be no bad thing for talented Brooks, who will not have to rush in his bid to return to the eye-catching form that had the Premier League big guns monitoring his progress on the south coast.

Penarth Times:

"You can sometimes take football for granted," said the 12-times capped winger, who needed a second operation in December. "Then when you can’t play for eight months it puts things into perspective with how much you enjoy going in every day.

"Sometimes you just look forward to the games, but I’ve missed everything about it. Even the little things like being sat in the changing room with the lads before training, instead of the physio room where you’re near enough on your own.

"It’s been a tough six months but hopefully I can get back into the team and, touch wood, won’t have an injury like this again.

"I’ve been dreaming of getting back and helping the team, and trying to score some more goals. That’s my sole focus, to get back playing pain-free."

Brooks was training on grass and closing in on a return before the suspension of the Premier League.

However, he admits that he was some way short of getting back to his best as the months ticked down to Euro 2020.

Penarth Times:

"The season ended abruptly," said Brooks, who signed from Sheffield United for £11.5million in 2018. "Just as I was integrating back in with the team. I’m not sure if I’d have made the Wolves match but I was in and around it and trying to get myself up to match speed.

"This has put a bit of a dampener on where I was at, obviously I can’t train properly anymore.

“I can do a bit of running, but I need to get back up to football levels, kicking a ball around.

“That helps you getting up to the standard before starting to play again, which I can’t really do at the minute.

"I had a Wattbike dropped off at my house the other week and I’ve been given a few things to keep on top of.

“I’ve been going out for runs and I’m keeping on top of my fitness, but it’s not quite the same as playing football so the sooner we can get back the sooner I can get up to speed.

"Footballers have a pretty set routine throughout the year, with the coronavirus everything’s a bit up in the air and I think every club’s handling it a little bit differently. You’ve just got to keep fit for when the season starts up again."