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Reports: Tattoo gets Brooks benched

Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks was not called up to the Berlin squad for their match against Leverkusen because of a "large-scale back tattoo," Berlin media reported.

Injuries and form fluctuations have limited the 21-year old Hertha Berlin centre-back to only 10 starts in his Bundesliga debut season. Following 29 appearances in Berlin's promotion-winning Bundesliga II campaign in 2012-2013, the Berlin-born U.S. international had been named as one of the most promising youngsters ahead of the current season.

While Brooks has won his first three caps for the USMNT this year, and is a contender for a place in U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup team, Hertha coach Jos Luhukay has been mildly irritated by the youngster.

Last Sunday, Brooks did not make the Hertha squad for their away game at Bayer Leverkusen. According to Berliner Morgenpost, the U.S. international was omitted from the trip because of a "large-scale back tattoo," which currently makes football difficult for the defender.

During the stitching process the skin region should not be touched, and also any perspiration should be avoided. The back tattoo has not only limited Brooks' appearances on the training pitch, but has also infuriated Luhukay.

"I don’t have any understanding for that. The tattoo could lead to an inflammation, and, naturally, that is not good," Luhukay was quoted by the Berlin based paper.

Hertha BSC currently rank 10th in the Bundesliga standings, having fallen off the pace after an outstanding first half of the season, during which they collected 28 points. They have only nine points in the 13 games of the second half of the season, the worst record of any Bundesliga team.

Brooks also has extensive tattoos on his elbows.

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