Before making the big move across the Atlantic for £1.5 million, Auston Trusty was a household name in the MLS, commencing his formative years in Bethlehem Steel in the USL, before notching up 56 appearances in two seasons for Philadelphia Union and three campaigns with the Colorado Rapids, garnering 57 appearances. Arsenal signed him and allowed him to finish the campaign with the Rapids, before shipping him out on loan to Birmingham City last summer.
Last season was breakthrough campaign for Trusty in English football, with the American center back being an ever-present for Blues this season, making 48 appearances across three competitions. Trusty played 90 minutes in Birmingham’s EFL Cup First Round loss to Norwich City, with the Blues crashing out on penalties after a 2-2 draw on the night. The FA Cup campaign for the club lasted over three matches with Trusty featuring in all three games – a First Round win against Forest Green, a Fourth Round draw with Blackburn Rovers and a narrow 1-0 defeat in the replay with Blackburn, where Trusty scored an unfortunate own goal that was enough to clinch the contest between both sides.
In 44 games for Birmingham City in the Championship, Trusty scored four goals, including a brace in the 3-0 win over Bristol. He used his tall 1.91cm frame to great effect, averaging 3.1 aerial duels won per match. Reviewing his other defensive stats on WhoScored, Trusty averaged 2.3 tackles per match, 1.5 interceptions per match, four clearances per match, 1.1 fouls committed per match and 0.8 blocks per match. His passing stats leave a lot to be desired with an average of 32 passes per match, 1.6 long balls per match and a pass completion percentage of 68.7 percent.
His performances were so great that he was named the Birmingham City Player of the Year award, which was a testament of his footballing service to the club. Trusty also had some good words to say after winning the award,
“It’s my first year over here in Europe and first time on loan, but I didn’t come here thinking this is just for a season, I came here thinking I want to make my mark on an organisation. I’m thankful that I have been perceived this way by the fans. It’s been really, really awesome.
“Coming from the US I knew I would have to prove myself. I really was an unproven European player, I had to prove that I can hold my ground and do my job. Coming to the Championship and a team like Birmingham City that allowed me to show that was the best-case scenario.”
Unfortunately, Birmingham didn’t retain his services and Trusty joined Arsenal this season, making his first appearance for the club as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Nurnberg before travelling with the rest of the squad to his home country for the preseason tour.
Trusty was one of the standout acts in the skills challenge, winning the contest for Arsenal when he smashed a long range shot from some distance to the cross bar, sending the crowd to raptures. He came on as a sub with 10 minutes to spare in the 5-0 drubbing of MLS All Stars, was an unused sub in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United and 5-3 entertaining win over Barcelona.
With Arsenal relatively stocked at the center back position, a player like Trusty would not feature till probably the Carabao Cup or FA Cup. However, Trusty can get a chance at first team football with Sheffield United keen on signing the young American for a reported £5 million. Sheffield United are on the hunt for a new defender after one of their mainstays from last season, Iliman Ndiaye, is set to depart the club to Olympique Marseille.
With Arteta and Edu Gaspar hoping to shed the unsustainable squad, selling Trusty for £5 million will be a welcome move.
In as much as I’d have loved to see him at Arsenal, I’m very comfortable with Trusty leaving to Sheffield United. At least, we will get to see him feature in the Premier League consistently.
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