Klinsmann says Wood must play in Bundesliga to reach potential

The U.S. manager believes the striker has the talent to succeed but needs to have reaching Germany’s top league as a goal.

Union Berlin striker Bobby Wood must play in Germany’s top league if he is to reach his full potential, according to United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann.

Klinsmann wants the 23-year-old U.S. international to aim for the Bundesliga, adding he believes Wood has the capability to succeed at that level.

"The first league has to be his goal," Klinsmann said to Hamburger Morgenpost. "He's not a national team player by mistake. Bobby is young and has great plans. I can very well imagine he can have his breakthrough. We'd support that very much."

RECOMMENDED Klinsmann must win road games to fulfill promises

Klinsmann’s words are backed up by his actions – he stuck with Wood during his struggles toward the end of 2014 and into early 2015 with 1860 Munich. However, the Honolulu-born attacker has rewarded that faith, starting with improved league performances with Erzgebirge Aue on a loan deal in the second half of last season, along with notching some dramatic goals for the U.S. national team.

After uncertainty over his future last season, Wood has found stability since joining Union Berlin this year and has enjoyed his strongest season in Germany’s second league. He has scored 14 goals for the eighth-placed side, which is good for third in the league. He had scored six total goals in his four previous seasons in 2. Bundesliga.

RECOMMENDED Another Olympic qualification failure would stunt development

Wood’s performance this season has reportedly drawn interest from Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen, with a story from the Berliner Kurier also linking the forward to Liverpool. 

Wood’s contract with Union Berlin runs until 2018.