US coach Gregg Berhalter was impressed with what he saw of Wolfsburg's John Brooks against Gladbach. - © imago/Nordphoto
US coach Gregg Berhalter was impressed with what he saw of Wolfsburg's John Brooks against Gladbach. - © imago/Nordphoto

"Wolfsburg defender John Brooks has huge potential" - USA coach Gregg Berhalter


USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter says he is looking forward to seeing more of Wolfsburg defender John Brooks in the coming months.

Berhalter, who took charge of the USA in December, was in attendance as Brooks' Wolfsburg walked away from Borussia Mönchengladbach's Borussia-Park as 3-0 winners on Saturday.

It was the second time the 45-year-old has jetted over to observe 36-time US international Brooks, and he is already planning his next visit.

"I met John in December," Berhalter said of the Berlin-born hulk. "He's got a good profile, when I think of his towering frame and how he passes the ball. We'll be coming over to watch him again because we think he has huge potential."

The Walls of Brooks (r.) shut out USA teammate Fabian Johnson (l.) at Borussia-Park. - 2019 Getty Images

It's easy to see why Berhalter is such a fan. Ankle and knee injuries restricted Brooks, now 26, to just nine Bundesliga games in his debut season on the Wolfsburg books, but the former Hertha Berlin man has been back to his best in 2018/19. He has played in all but one of the Wolves' 23 league games to date, while his efforts to nullify a Gladbach side boasting the firepower of Thorgan Hazard provided the perfect illustration of his towering form.

Brooks enjoyed more touches (81) and found the mark with more passes (53) than any other Wolfsburg player in Mönchengladbach, won eight of his attempted challenges and even chipped in with his third assist of the season for the Wolves' third and final goal of the afternoon. No wonder Bruno Labbadia's rejuvenated ensemble - relegation play-off participants last term, three points outside the top four at the time of writing - have the sixth best defence in the division.

"John's a very good defender," said Berhalter, who spent seven years in Germany as a player, captaining Energie Cottbus and 1860 Munich. "Obviously Bruno Labbadia works with John every day and knows him better than I do, but he's one of those players I'm trying to reach out to and to get to know."

Brooks will hope to be involved when Berhalter's USA play host to Ecuador and Chile in international friendly action on 21 and 26 March respectively.