New-signing David Brooks joins the Cherries from Sheffield United, and we trace his path to Vitality Stadium through quotes from the people who have shaped his journey.
Born in Warrington in July 1997, Brooks was already playing with local club Woolston Rovers not far into the new millennium.
“David came to us as a four-and-a-half-year-old kid. He was one of the best players in the team, for sure, but the smallest by far. He had a great left foot and great balance, and came on leaps and bounds over the three or so years he was with us.”
Jason Flinders, who worked with Brooks at Woolston Rovers told the Sheffield Star.
Despite his tender years, Brooks was already on the radar of Manchester City, with scouts from the Premier League side coming to watch the young talent.
“David signing for City was massive for us all. There was lots of travelling involved for all the family, taking him training three or four times a week, but playing football is all he ever wanted to do.”
Brooks’ mum Cathryn said to the Sheffield Star on her son signing for City at seven.
However, the young midfielder was let go by City at the age of 16, with mum Cathryn saying her son took the news in his stride.
“He just dealt with the news from City as if it was the next step. He didn’t have a plan B in case it didn’t work out; he just kept his head down and kept up his dedication to the game.”
Arrival at Sheffield United
Following his release from City, Sheffield United swooped to bring the teenager to the Steel City.
“I first saw him at 14, playing on mud heaps at [Manchester City’s] Platt Lane, and thought: ‘This kid can play.’ He just seemed to glide across the grass, if there was any.”
Howard Dean, United’s former national academy chief scout.
“He’s shown great resilience and strength of character to come back from what was a huge setback. He didn’t know anything else than life at City, and it’s fair to say the two environments were very different. To adapt as quickly as he did, pick himself up and get his career back on track, he’s done a wonderful job.”
Nick Cox, former head of academy at Sheffield United.
“What is most gratifying, beyond the way he effortlessly glides over and with the ball, is that he seems to have come through the experience of leaving City having kept his humility and groundedness, which is impressive in a very talented young man.”
Jim Phipps, Sheffield United’s former co-chairman, was present when Brooks signed his first professional contract with the Blades in 2015.
Breakthrough with the Blades
Brooks made his FA Cup debut for United in November 2016 in a 6-0 Bramall Lane win over Leyton Orient, a game in which Cherries ‘keeper Aaron Ramsdale also started.
In August of last season, the midfielder made his Championship bow, making a total of 30 secon-tier appearances as the Blades enjoyed a top-half return to the division.
“He’s got natural ability, but the biggest learner, for me, is him being amongst players who are a first-class group of players. His progression has been clear for everyone to see.”
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.
Just over a year ago, Brooks was winning the Toulon Tournament with England and being awarded with the best player award.
After the competition, he received a call for Wales under-21s, with the player eligible through his mother. Last autumn Brooks was given a maiden call by the senior Wales side, making his debut away to France in November.
“He’s earned [the call up], he’s done very well and had a great couple of games in the last Under-21s camp. He’s shown great promise for some years and luckily for us he’s chosen Wales.“
Former Wales manager Chris Coleman after giving Brooks his senior Wales call-up.