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'The decision isn't surprising' - Brooks admits performances haven't been good enough following USMNT exclusion

19:47 GMT 04/11/2021
Brooks USMNT 2021
The defender backed Gregg Berhalter's decision to look elsewhere while challenging himself to battle back into the picture

Gregg Berhalter hailed John Brooks' response to being left off the U.S. men's national team's upcoming squad as "all you can ask for" after the defender backed the manager's decision to exclude him due to a poor run of form.

Brooks has struggled in his most recent USMNT appearances and, as a result, was left off the squad to face Mexico and Jamaica in favour of Miles Robinson, Chris Richards, Mark McKenzie and Walker Zimmerman.

Shortly after the response was announced, Brooks said that he understood why he was left off the team and vowed to come back in better form to prove himself going forward.

What did Brooks say?

"In life and in soccer, nothing is ever handed to you, nor should it be," Brooks told Fox Sports. "The decision to leave me out of this camp isn’t surprising given some of my recent performances for the USMNT that aren’t up to my standards. My job now is to work hard to be the very best I can be.

"I feel great about this week's Champions League performance and my recent play with Wolfsburg, and will keep building on my performance there until I reach my goal of helping the USMNT reach the next World Cup."

Berhalter responds

“That’s all you can ask for as a player’s response," Berhalter said when asked about Brooks' exclusion. "Normally what players do is they start picking off other players and saying,’ Well, this guy is doing this.’ And all John did was take accountability for his own performance.

"We saw him play midweek in the Champions League at Salzburg. He had a good game and he’s working his way back into form. I don’t assume that this is going to be his last time in the national team. I’m sure he’ll be back, and it’s just about regaining your form and performing at a high level when you get the opportunity.”

Brooks' national team struggles

Long seen as the USMNT's top center back, Brooks has developed a reputation for struggling in CONCACAF games.

Brooks underwhelmed during the USMNT's final two qualifiers in September, a 1-1 draw with Canada and a 4-1 win over Honduras, the latter of which saw Brooks taken out at halftime.

He didn't feature in any of the USMNT's three October matches, with Zimmerman, Robinson, Richards and McKenzie all starting.

The 28-year-old defender has earned 45 international caps, scoring three goals, most notably the winner against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup group stage.

Brooks has been ever-present for Wolfsburg over the last few seasons, starting for the club in the Bundesliga and Champions League in 2021-22.

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