John Anthony Brooks celebrates his goal for Hertha Berlin
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American Exports: Ill-timed tattoo work lands John Brooks on bench, in hot water at Hertha Berlin

AMSTERDAM – Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks was left out of the team's weekend loss at Bayer Leverkusen because of missed training due to a large and sensitive fresh tattoo on his back.

Though the youngster did not miss out for being in the doghouse, as originally suspected around the capital, he may be flirting with relocation there as the timing of this artistic endeavor has rather annoyed Hertha boss Jos Luhukay.

“I don’t have any understanding for that,” an exasperated Luhukay told Berliner Morgenpost on Thursday. “The tattoo could lead to an inflammation and, naturally, that is not good.”

The manager already had plenty to worry about before having to cast public criticism on Brooks for the second time this season. Hertha have lost five times in an eight-game winless slide to drop out of Europa League contention like a stone.

Luhukay scolded Brooks in the media after a poor showing in December, telling reporters that the 21-year-old needed to "shake off this youthfulness and become an adult."

The lost playing time – and possibly views on the the judgment shown by Brooks – could harm the US international's chance of making coach Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup squad this summer. For the season, the Berlin native has started 20 of his 24 league appearances, bagging two goals.


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