David Brooks is eager to continue his meteoric rise and embrace the pressure of being a leading light in Wales’ European Championship campaign.
Brooks secured a place in Welsh football history on Thursday night when he became the first man to claim the double of best footballer and young player of the year at the Football Association of Wales awards.
The 21-year-old is also a contender for this season’s PFA young player award following his £11.5million move from Sheffield United to Bournemouth last summer.
Player of the Year 🏆Young Player of the Year 🏆
— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) March 22, 2019
Brooks has scored six goals in 25 Premier League appearances, and his performances at international level suggest he will be a key player when Ryan Giggs’ Wales start their Euro 2020 qualifiers at home to Slovakia on Sunday.
“The word pressure gets thrown about, but I don’t see it as pressure,” Brooks said.
“I am going out to try and do that (play well) anyway. It is not really any different if someone expects me to do it or not.
“I go out to do my best, to score and create goals, and it will be no different.”
Manager Giggs has previously suggested that Warrington-born Brooks would be in Gareth Southgate’s England squad had he not chosen to play for Wales.
Brooks was given the best player award and scored in the final as England Under-20s won the prestigious Toulon Tournament in 2017.
But Brooks said his heart was always set on playing for Wales and the land of his mother Cathryn, with English dad Ian offering full support to his wishes.
Brooks has won nine caps since making his debut in November 2017, but his ambitions of reaching the top were dented when he was released by Manchester City at the age of 17.
Like others, including England teenager Jadon Sancho, who chose to leave City for Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Brooks had to forge a career away from the Premier League champions.
“Just as I was leaving they started to invest more in the academy,” Brooks said.
“It is obviously a very challenging pathway for any young player to make it there, when they can go out and buy anyone they want in the world.
“I think the path Sancho has taken to go abroad is quite inspiring for any young player who wants to go and do it.
“If you don’t make it at one place it doesn’t mean you are not going to make it at another.”
Brooks signed a new long-term contract earlier this month as Bournemouth moved quickly to ward off reported interest from Manchester United and Tottenham.
But it is a harsh fact of football life that the Cherries will struggle to keep hold of Brooks should he make the same impact as he has done during his first eight months on the south coast.
“I don’t know what the future holds for myself,” Brooks said.
— David Brooks (@DRBrooks15) March 4, 2019
“Obviously the aim is to get up there and whatever opportunities come, I will have to make the decisions then.
“But the reason I signed the contract is I am happy at Bournemouth and the way my progression is going.
“I want that to continue and for the focus not to be on anything else. That is why I signed at Bournemouth.”