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Men's Football Brooks: It was always going to be Wales

DAVID BROOKS said today that he had never considered changing his mind like the Republic of Ireland’s Declan Rice after pledging his international allegiance to Wales.

Rice was omitted from the Republic squad for tomorrow’s Uefa Nations League opener against Wales in Cardiff, with manager Martin O’Neill revealing the West Ham defender is still deliberating over switching loyalties to England.

London-born Rice has three senior caps for the Republic, but they all came in friendly matches, meaning the 19-year-old could yet decide to represent England instead.

Warrington-born Brooks, like Rice, has appeared in three international friendlies, but the Bournemouth forward is set to end any doubts over his future by representing Wales in a competitive fixture against the Republic.

“There is a decision to be made by younger players like Declan Rice and myself,” said 21-year-old Brooks.

“I don’t know his situation and what he wants to do, so I can’t really comment on that. But for me it was always going to be Wales and thankfully I got that opportunity.

“I won’t be switching even if I don’t get on against the Republic.”

Brooks did represent England Under-20s at the Toulon Tournament in 2017 when he was named the competition’s best player.

But Brooks, whose mother Cathryn is from Llangollen, joined the Wales set-up after that tournament and has won senior caps in friendlies against France, Panama and Mexico in the past 12 months.

“You obviously listen to what your family have to say and there’s other influences involved as well,” Brooks said of his decision to play for Wales.

“You can get all the advice in the world, but, if you want to do something for yourself, you have to [make a decision].

“There’s no going back from that and I can’t wait to get the Wales shirt on again.”

Brooks’s previous international experience came when he was a Sheffield United player.

But an £11.5 million switch to Bournemouth has turned him into a Premier League player and he feels he is already benefiting from his summer move.

“Eddie Howe [the Bournemouth manager] has been great to work with,” Brooks said.

“The training has been spot on and I can see myself improving already and hopefully it can continue.

“It’s the same with Wales as the quality in our squad is there for all to see.

“I’m a big Manchester United fan and I grew up watching the gaffer [Ryan Giggs].

“He was a fantastic player and won near enough every trophy under the sun, so I’m delighted to work with him.

“It was a bit strange meeting him at first, but I’m used to it now and I’ve just got to kick on and try and impress him.”

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