U.S. and Union Berlin forward Bobby Wood plays down Hamburg links
United States national team forward Bobby Wood has played down links with Bundesliga club Hamburg.
Wood, 23, is currently enjoying his breakthrough season in the second German tier. The Hawaii-born attacker has hit 16 goals for Union Berlin, the club he joined from relegated Erzgebirge Aue last summer.
"It's important that I focus on Union Berlin now," he said, adding that he is targeting a spot on the U.S. team for the Copa America Centenario.
With five matches left to be played in the 2015-2016 season, the forward is in with a shot of becoming the division's top scorer, with the ranking currently led by VfL Bochum's Simon Terrode with 19 goals.
Although he is three goals behind the former Union attacker, Wood has scored 11 of his 16 goals in the second half of the season, and has been on target in every match he featured in for the capital club in 2016.
"I hope that's not the end for him. I think he's capable to make up the leeway," his coach Andre Hofschneider told BZ. "It's a stroke of luck that he opted to join Union. He is still young, maybe he now gains the laurels from the past few years. His development is far from over."
No other player has ever scored more goals in a single 2.Bundesliga season for Union, but Wood, praised by local paper Morgenpost for "rescuing a screwed-up season," only took notice of the record by saying: "That's my job as a forward."
"Bobby, right now, makes things happen. He starts to score goals on a consistent base and has an influence on his club team," United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told ESPN earlier this year. "He's becoming more mature in everything he's doing."
Klinsmann later told Hamburger Morgenpost that although Wood is under contract at the Alte Forsterei, "the first league has to be his goal."
Indeed, his performances have brought Wood to the attention of other clubs. He reportedly met with Hamburg sporting director Peter Knabel in mid-March to sound out if a transfer could be an option.
Local paper BZ also linked Wood with unnamed English clubs, but the forward said that he wants to focus on the run-in of the season, and winning a place in the Copa America squad.
'When you score goals it's just like that," he said of the transfer rumours. "To me it's important to focus on Union. We still have five matches left. It is my goal to take part in the Copa America."
Should Wood still be at the club next season, he will be coached by former Schalke boss Jens Keller.
The 45-year-old will replace Hofschneider, who only took charge of the side after former Bayer Leverkusen coach Sascha Lewandowski vacated his seat because of health reason earlier this year.