Hertha coach urges John Brooks to stay at club

Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai has urged John Brooks to stay at the Berlin-based club for his development. The United States international is under contract until 2017, and has yet to agree on a new deal.

In recent weeks, the defender not only returned to Hertha's starting formation after initial struggles early on in the season, but has also been a key player in the club's 2-1 home defeat of Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.

The 22-year-old scored the decisive goal for Hertha with a forceful header in the second half when they struggled to break Leverkusen's resistance despite the away team being reduced to 10 players early on in the match.

This summer, amid ongoing contract talks with his club, Brooks switched agents and left Sports Total, who also represent the likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Toni Kroos, to link up with Berlin-based agent Kadir Ozdogan.

On Monday, kicker reported that contract talks have stalled, and that Hertha could put him up for sale next summer should both sides fail to reach an agreement over a new deal.

When asked by kicker on Thursday whether he could understand the reluctance of Brooks and his teammate, Tolga Cigerci, who is represented by Sports Total and also under contract until 2017, to renew their contracts, Hertha coach Dardai said: "No!"

He explained: "I think that both are young and at the right place, now and for the upcoming years. Should a really big club make a move sometime in the future, we'd have to swallow that or Hertha has to grow. Both would do well to prolong here."

The 39-year-old Hertha coach, who has turned the club from a relegation candidate to one competing for the European spots in under a year, reiterated that he rates Brooks highly.

"He lacked tension early on in the season, maybe he won too much praise while with the U.S. team [at the Gold Cup]," said Dardai, who called Brooks "a diamond."

The Hungarian added: "He's big, he's strong with the headers, he's technically strong, he's left-footed. There are not too many other centre-backs in the league like him."