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May 2, 2014

John Brooks aims for U.S. squad

John Brooks has admitted that getting a large-scale back tattoo during the season was a mistake. The Hertha Berlin defender vowed that this will not happen again and said he will fight for a place on the U.S. World Cup team.

Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks missed action due to a large-scale back tattoo.

The Berlin-born U.S. international had come under fire from media and Hertha Berlin in April. He was omitted from the club's Bundesliga squad for one match because of the tattoo. This caused irritation at the club, and coach Jos Luhukay said that he does not "have any understanding for it. The tattoo could lead to an inflammation."

The incident cast a shadow over the 21-year-old U.S. international's World Cup hopes.

However, Brooks, with the help of teammate Fabian Lustenberger's injury, soon returned to the Hertha XI, and last weekend scored his second goal of the season as the Old Dame won their first three Bundesliga points at home in 2014 against bottom-of-the-league Eintracht Braunschweig.

"The timing to get the tattoo was not perfect," Brooks admitted in an interview with German football weekly kicker. "Even if I think the public fuss was a bit exaggerated. This won't happen again."

Brooks, a mainstay in Hertha's defense when they won promotion to the German top flight last season, said that "I sometimes need a slap on the wrists," and vowed to fight his frustration, rooted in his "subconscious mind."

But his return to the Hertha XI and also his return to form could have come in time for a call up to the U.S. World Cup squad.

"[U.S. coach] Jurgen Klinsmann got on the phone with me a fortnight ago. Should I play well in the last two Bundesliga games, it could work out for me," Brooks said.

"Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler are a notch ahead of me, but I by all means want to be involved in Brazil," Brooks, who has won three caps for the USMNT, said.

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