Wales made it two-out-of-two with their 1-0 win over Slovakia on Sunday, mirroring that of their victory over Trinidad and Tobago four days earlier, with Daniel James netting the decisive goal just five minutes in.
Bournemouth fans who are willing to keep track of their stars’ progress during the international break will know that David Brooks started in the weekend win and was excellent in a more advanced role.
Having signed for the Cherries from Sheffield United in the summer, the 21-year-old has been brilliant in what is only his first season in the Premier League, chalking up six goals and four assists in 25 appearances.
The 10-cap international has been deployed all across the midfield at the Vitality Stadium but clearly thrives in a more central role, something Eddie Howe and Wales boss Ryan Giggs surely agree on.
Manchester United legend Giggs played Brooks just behind Gareth Bale against Slovakia and he was influential early on, driving forward before attempting to release his strike partner, only for the ball to be won by James, who fired home emphatically.
Unfortunately for the Warrington-born starlet, though, he has far fewer opportunities playing so far afield in club competition, with Joshua King a nailed down starter behind Callum Wilson. Can Brooks take the Norwegian’s centre-forward role?
Former Manchester United man King is a key component of Bournemouth’s attack, with his pace on the counter essential to the way Howe likes to set his team up – the 27-year-old has struck up a dangerous partnership with Wilson and Ryan Fraser – however he is quite untidy in possession.
The number 17 is dispossessed 2.8 times and takes 3.1 unsuccessful touches per game to Brooks’ 1.4 and 2.1, respectively. There are no questions that Brooks is far better technically but he isn’t as willing to carry the ball in the way that King does, which is detrimental to Howe’s preferred attacking style.
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The Cherries, though, often leave themselves exposed when they get bodies forward and have been poor defensively in recent weeks.
Perhaps having a player who can connect the dots a little better is preferable to slow things down, which should be a consideration for Howe if he wants to stop his side being caught on the counter.
Replacing King with Brooks could be the key ingredient Bournemouth are missing.