By FRANCO PANIZO
John Brooks was a puzzling omission from Hertha Berlin’s game-day roster this past weekend, but now we might know why he was not in uniform.
Brooks was not made part of Berlin’s 18-man roster for the 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen this past Sunday because of a large back tattoo he recently got done, according to multiple reports from Germany. The skin on which the tattoo was done on is still healing and has reportedly led to Brooks being limited in training sessions, something that drew the ire of Leverkusen head coach Jos Luhukay.
“I don’t have any understanding for that,” Luhukay told Berliner Morgenpost. “The tattoo could lead to an inflammation, and, naturally, that is not good.”
The 21-year-old centerback has been in and out Hertha Berlin’s lineup this season mostly due to form and injuries. Brooks has 10 starts this season in 12 appearances and one goal. There is no word currently on if he will be available for the 10th-placed club’s road trip to FC Augsburg this Saturday.
He is currently on the fringes of the U.S. Men’s National Team, but is surely hoping to earn a call-up to the preliminary World Cup camp that Jurgen Klinsmann will hold next month in the United States before deciding on which 23 players to take to Brazil this summer. Brooks is not yet cap-tied.
Centerback is a position on the U.S. that is still up for grabs. With Omar Gonzalez struggling as of late, Matt Besler appears to be the only central defender to have locked down a starting spot. Gonzalez will look to put his stamp on a starting role ahead of the World Cup, but is facing competition from the likes of Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco and more.
What do you make of Brooks’ reported benching over a large back tattoo? Should he be called into the preliminary World Cup camp? What are his chances of being in Brazil this summer?
Share your thoughts below.