Gael Bigirimana

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor


Gael Bigirimana has been named in the final 21-man squad for England Under-20's World Cup campaign this summer.

It is a first England call-up for the Burundi-born midfielder, who has surpassed all expectations since arriving on Tyneside from Coventry City last summer.

Bigirimana, aged 19, forced his way into manager Alan Pardew's plans and finished the 2012/13 season with 25 appearances in all competitions and a single goal - a stunning long-range effort against Wigan last December.

And those performances in the Newcastle engine room have also caught the eye of England Under-20 head coach Peter Taylor, who has named his final party after initially selecting a provisional 35-man squad.

Magpies' forward Adam Campbell - who is currently representing England Under-19s in their European Championship Elite Round qualifiers - was also in the provisional squad but has not made the cut.

Bigirimana will meet his international teammates at St. George's Park next Monday to begin preparations for the Under-20 World Cup before flying out to Turkey on Wednesday, 12th June for more training and acclimatisation.

England will be based in Antalya for their first two group games, against Iraq on Sunday, 23rd June and Chile on Wednesday, 26th June.

The Young Lions then move to Bursa for their final group game against African champions Egypt on Saturday, 29th June.

England Under-20 Squad

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Manchester United), George Long (Sheffield United), Connor Ripley (Middlesbrough)

Defenders: Sam Byram (Leeds United), Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest), Danny Potts (West Ham United), Adam Reach (Middlesbrough), John Stones (Everton), Tom Thorpe (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Gael Bigirimana (Newcastle United), Conor Coady (Liverpool), Larnell Cole (Manchester United), John Lundstram (Everton), James Ward Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Chris Long (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Alex Pritchard (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Williams (Middlesbrough)