John Brooks has been praised for his performance in Hertha Berlin's 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, with coach Jos Luhukay saying: "That was the Brooks I have always wished for."
Brooks, 21, endured a difficult first year in the Bundesliga last season, dropping down the pecking order at Hertha after starring in their promotion-winning campaign two years ago.
But injury problems in the club's defensive ranks handed the U.S. international a fresh chance in mid-November, with the Berlin-born player starting the last three games.
Luhukay told a news conference: "John played his best match of 2014. He was always there when it got dangerous in our box, no matter whether the ball came flying in high or was passed in low.
"That was the Brooks I have always wished for. I am delighted for him. I have had my battles with him, but we have always been honest with each other, and that's why I am just delighted."
The Berliner Kurier newspaper said Brooks had all the makings of a world-class defender, adding: "For 94 minutes, he showed all his class, his full potential -- world class. Is this the real John Brooks now?"
Germany's biggest tabloid, Bild, said this is "the best Brooks there ever was," and the player told the paper: "That was a perfect match for us.
"It's difficult to say whether this was my best Hertha match to date. But I felt fine, and after the first tackles I knew that it would turn out to be a good day.
"I think that I have matured. I step on the gas every day to get more games from the coach. I try to go without a mistake for 90 minutes and to be focused, and I think I've done a good job recently."