It has been quite the journey for 26-year-old Brookwell in football. Playing for the Royal Navy football team, making a name for himself in the domestic game at Glantraeth, moving to The Oval to sign for Caernarfon Town, and now this – the Cofi winger discussed how significant the call-up is to him.
“To represent your country in anything at any level is a massive honour and I'm very proud to have being called up to the Wales C squad to face England C at Salford City next week.
“It has come as a surprise to me if I’m honest as I've missed a lot of games this season through injury, but luckily it looks like I’ve done enough in the time I've played to warrant a place. Without a doubt this is the best achievement in my career so far.
“I did manage to watch the game last year (a 3-2 win for England at Jenner Park). What I remember from that game is that it was played at a high intensity and very high standard.
“I've never doubted my ability to be involved in at this level, but I think for me it was just about earning the opportunity and thankfully I have done that now.”
It has been a whirlwind few years for the fleet-footed winger who has gone from strength to strength season after season, and his current manager at Caernarfon Town Sean Eardley expressed his pride at Brookwell’s call-up to the C squad, as well as the selection of Cofi shot-stopper Alex Ramsey.
“I’m very proud of Danny, and of Alex too, of course. Danny’s story of coming up the leagues, from Glantraeth and finishing his time with the Royal Navy teams and now to be doing so well in the JD Welsh Premier League and to be selected for a Wales team, it’s a fantastic achievement.
“I think he’s been a little bit frustrated this year with niggling injuries that have kept him out of the team more than he’d have liked, but it is a testament to his character that he hasn’t let that get him down at all and when he’s been fully fit he’s been unplayable at times because he’s so off the cuff and so explosive in his play, he can create things for himself and others, so I’m made up for him.
“I think Alex Ramsey this year, I feel he’s up there with the best in this league to be quite honest, and I think he fully deserves this opportunity as well to be fair.”
Representing the Royal Navy Under-19 and Under-23 level, as well as representing the service at the Dallas Cup and being nominated as the Navy’s Young Sports Person of the Year in 2012, Brookwell stepped back into the domestic game in 2015 and has had quite the journey since.
He notes the factors behind his upward career trajectory on the pitch, why football was a part of his decision to leave the Royal Navy and how he couldn’t have envisaged being in a Wales C squad at this point when he originally left the Navy four years ago.
“Since leaving the Navy in 2015 I feel like I’ve come a long way. A part of my decision to leave all those years ago was to concentrate on playing football as I wasn't playing regularly enough where I was.
“I couldn't have asked for it to go any better than it has done since then and I've enjoyed every minute, joining Caernarfon from Glantraeth in 2015. If someone had told me back then that I would be representing the Wales C squad four years on I wouldn't have believed them.
“I've put a lot of hard work in over the years and I like to think that a lot of determination has got me where I am.”
A chance visit from then-Caernarfon-Town manager Iwan Williams to a Glantraeth game back in 2015 was the spark behind Brookwell’s move to The Oval.
A rising star on Anglesey at the time, Williams recalled his first encounter with the 26-year-old and how a chance meeting turned out to be very beneficial for both the then-manager and current Caernarfon Town player, as well as paying tribute to the Cofis’ other C squad call-up, Alex Ramsey.
“I first saw Danny play four years ago for Glantraeth after just going to watch them on the off-chance really, and it turned out to be a very good visit for me as I spotted a player full of drive and ability who would go on to be a very important one for both myself and Caernarfon Town for years to come.
“He scored a great goal that day and really stood out with his determination and desire, and I’m as pleased as anyone the he’s gone from strength to strength since then. He’s fully deserving of this call-up to the Wales C squad, and I’m sure he’ll do well and continue to grow from here.
“I have to mention Rambo (Alex Ramsey) too, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper who was a pleasure to work with. I think the whole league has seen just how good he is this year with a fantastic record between the sticks for Caernarfon and he’s another play who thoroughly deserves this chance.”
Whilst having suffered a few niggles throughout the season, Brookwell has still taken plenty of headlines throughout the term with his goals, assists and blistering pace really grabbing the attention of individuals throughout the league.
How much has his debut season in the JDWPL helped the 26-year-old grow as a player?
“I definitely feel that my first season in the JD Welsh Premier League has helped me grow as a player. Playing in front of bigger crowds and against better players means that the experience I've gained is massive.
“In the Cymru Alliance in the past few years it was all about attacking the opposition and dominating the ball, but coming up against better opposition at this level you are unable to do that and you have to adapt and play the game well in and out of possession.
“The defensive side of my game has definitely improved this year and hopefully I'll keep learning and growing as a player in seasons to come.”
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