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Auston Trusty Birmingham 2022/23

Auston Trusty exclusive: Arsenal's American star taking the Championship by storm with Birmingham City

Folarin Balogun might be grabbing all the headlines in France this season, but slightly closer to home there is another Arsenal loanee making a huge impression at his temporary club.

There are plenty in north London who might not have even heard of him, but his name is Auston Trusty and he is rapidly making himself a hero at Birmingham City.

“I’m just doing my thing,” the 24-year-old American tells GOAL. “I’m having fun.”

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Anyone who saw the chaotic celebrations last weekend when Trusty rose highest to head home a dramatic injury-time winner at Swansea will testify to that.

The centre-back, who grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia, is loving life in the Championship and Birmingham City are certainly loving him.

He is the only player to play every single minute in the league for the Blues this season.

Birmingham boss John Eustace has admitted that he would love to give him a rest, but says he’s just not been able to, such is Trusty’s importance to the team.

The defender has been a revelation and his target now is just to keep learning and improving until the end of the season.

“I think coming here was a good stop for me,” he says. “The team and the organisation has made me feel at home.

“Moving here was an easy transition. It’s pretty similar to Philadelphia as well in terms of the grittiness of the people, the fans, the city. It feels like a home away from home.

“All round it’s been pretty positive, so I just have to keep going from here.”

Trusty arrived at Arsenal very much under the radar, with his surprise move from MLS side Colorado Rapids going through almost at the exact moment Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was in Spain trying to force through his deadline day transfer to Barcelona in January last year.

Understandably, it was the Aubameyang saga that was top of the news agenda, with confirmation of Trusty’s switch barely registering at Arsenal.

The deal saw him remain with Colorado until the end of the MLS season in July.

His loan move to Birmingham was then announced almost immediately and within two weeks he was making his Championship debut.

So there was very little time to adjust and prepare for what was to come.

But despite all that, Trusty took to his new surroundings with ease - aside from the odd exception of course.

“Beans on the toast,” he laughs. “That was freaking me out. But other than that sort of culture shock stuff, it was pretty easy.

“The Championship is really cool and really interesting. There are similarities to MLS, but the big difference is just the physicality. 

“That’s what the Championship is known for, but it’s not until you dive into it that you really understand it.

“No team messes around, everyone’s mindset is just to bulldoze you. It’s relentless and ruthless.”

Trusty’s header at Swansea last weekend saw Birmingham snatch a thrilling 4-3 win in the most dramatic of circumstances.

It was his fourth goal of the season and was met by a chorus of “USA, USA” chants from the travelling fans. It’s a chant that has become the norm for the Blues this season - home or away.

The impact the defender has made has been immediate and Eustace went on record earlier this week stating his desire to make Trusty’s move permanent in the summer.

But while the centre-back is loving his time in the Midlands, his long-term focus is still very much fixed on north London.

“To get there and play every single game,” he says, when asked what his ambition is with Arsenal.

“That’s the mindset I have. I want to go there, show what I can do and make my mark in the Premier League and on the team.

“It’s all a stepping stone, but that’s the main goal. The sky's the limit really.”

Trusty began his professional career with Philadelphia Union in MLS before joining Colorado, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke’s MLS franchise, in 2019.

His performances for the Rapids over the next couple of seasons saw him start to attract plenty of attention from overseas, with several clubs in Europe showing interest.

But when Trusty heard Arsenal was a possibility, there was nowhere else he was going to go.

“I just put every other team to one side and focused on them,” he said. “I’m sure it definitely helped that the Kroenkes were there.

“If there is that relationship there you definitely want to take advantage it, if that makes things smoother.

“It’s a business deal, so there is a lot of friction that goes on. If you can limit the amount of friction, then why not.”

Trusty only got to spend a couple of days at Arsenal in the summer, such was the haste of his move to Birmingham.

But he did get to have a brief conversation with Mikel Arteta during his time at London Colney and has been watching avidly this season as the Gunners have set the pace in the Premier League.

“I would say they are the best team in the world,” Trusty says. “It’s been a remarkable season and hopefully it continues and they go on and win the title. I know that’s the mindset of the entire Arsenal organisation.

“I wish I was part of the team doing it, but watching from afar I’m still proud watching the squad doing what they are doing.”

For now, however, Trusty’s focus is on Birmingham and it will be right through until the final day of the Championship this season.

What happens after that remains unclear, with Arteta’s squad already well stocked with centre-backs, especially after the addition of Jakub Kiwior last month in a £20 million ($24m) deal from Spezia.

If Arsenal do decide to send him out on loan again, he will not be short of takers given his form with Birmingham over the past seven months.

He was hoping that form would have been enough to earn him a spot in the USA’s World Cup squad in Qatar, but it wasn’t to be.

He has, however, been a part of the last two USMNT training camps and a first senior cap for his country must only be a matter of time.

“Growing up and watching the national team in World Cups and stuff, that’s where you aspire to be,” Trusty said.

“You just want to be on the field wearing the US crest representing your country. That’s always been a huge motivation for me.

“When I achieve that, then I’ll just keep wanting more, trying to be that guy for the team and winning trophies.”

And with the US hosting the next World Cup in four years time, Trusty admits that motivation to perform on the international stage is only going to keep getting stronger.

“1,000 percent,” he says. “That’s the mindset, that’s the goal.”

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