Wales man­ag­er Rob Page has now issued a fit­ness wor­ry for Southamp­ton loa­nee David Brooks – and it could see him miss their clash against Mid­dles­brough.

There was delight for Southamp­ton cen­tre-back Jan Bednarek and despair for David Brooks as Poland beat Wales on penal­ties in a Euro 2024 qual­i­fi­ca­tion final.

While Bednarek played 80 min­utes of the tie before being sub­sti­tut­ed for Bar­tosz Sala­m­on, Brooks was intro­duced with six reg­u­lar min­utes left on the clock but was with­drawn in the sec­ond half of extra time, with Ipswich Town’s Nathan Broad­head replac­ing him.

It was a deci­sion that left many bewil­dered and con­fused as the 26-year-old has been in fine form for club and coun­try.

Southamp­ton signed Brooks on loan from Bournemouth in the Jan­u­ary trans­fer win­dow and he’s scored twice while assist­ing three times in eight match­es.

The fleet-foot­ed Welsh­man car­ried that form across to inter­na­tion­al foot­ball with a goal and an assist last week as Wales ham­mered Fin­land 4–1. Sad­ly, man­ag­er Rob Page has now revealed why he sub­sti­tut­ed him against Poland.

Wales v Poland: UEFA EURO 2024 Play-Offs Final
Pho­to by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

David Brooks was ill against Poland last night

Speak­ing post-match, the Wales man­ag­er explained that it was a risk bring­ing the Saints winger on, but one worth tak­ing despite his ill­ness.

“Brooksy has been ill since Thurs­day,” Page said. “He has not trained a minute on the grass. He was a gam­ble.

“Some­one of Brooksy’s qual­i­ty, you want to get them on the pitch. We realised straight away that he didn’t have a run in him.

“He admit­ted that. It was a tough one. We had to bring Broady on because we just want­ed to get over the line and make sure that we had legs to do that.”

David Brooks would be a big miss for Southampton

Brooks’ ill­ness will be a slight con­cern for Saints boss Rus­sell Mar­tin as they host Mid­dles­brough in two days and he would want to start him on the right flank.

The Man­ches­ter City acad­e­my grad­u­ate was begin­ning to form a potent for­ward trio with Che Adams and Adam Arm­strong hav­ing post­ed strong under­ly­ing num­bers.

Accord­ing to Sofas­core, the jet-heeled winger has cre­at­ed five big chances for the Saints in eight appear­ances, with Kyle Walk­er-Peters lead­ing that met­ric (9). He also ranks fourth for suc­cess­ful drib­bles per game (1.4) while top­ping the charts for key pass­es per game (2).

Cut­ting in from the right flank with pur­pose, Brooks is a cre­ative machine for Mar­tin and despite arriv­ing in Jan­u­ary, his qual­i­ty in the final third has made a dif­fer­ence in the pro­mo­tion race.

An ill­ness to the winger won’t put the Saints pro­mo­tion hopes in jeop­ardy, but if he isn’t deemed well enough to play against Boro on Fri­day, the above sta­tis­tics sug­gest he’d be a big miss.

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