John Brooks had a great match on Saturday, scoring a goal and playing excellently at the back in Hertha Berlin's 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen. it continued a good run of form for the United States centerback, who has started the team's last four matches and helped them to fourth in the Bundesliga. His manager has taken notice, too.
"Tension is the key for him. If the tension's right he's a diamond," said Pal Dardai.
Talk about Brooks' potential isn't new. He an undoubtedly tantalizing player, capable of shining at the highest level. Hertha captain Fabian Lustenberger knows it too.
"You could once again see what a great footballer he is." Lustenberger said. "When he can access his potential, he is an outstanding centerback."
The question for Brooks remains consistency. That has been the problem for him ever since he helped Hertha earn promotion to the top flight as a 19-year-old. There have been stretches of brilliance, but then rough moments that would see him benched.
It's easy to be dismissive of Brooks because he has played for the first team for years now and made the World Cup team 18 months ago, but it's important to remember that he's still just 22 years old and playing a position that usually takes players a little longer to master. His potential is still there and he's a legitimate Bundesliga level player. That's nothing to sneeze at. The question is whether he can become the consistent, dominant player that he's capable of. Maybe he's finally going to make that leap, and doing so in the midst of a run to the Champions League would make for good timing too.