Gael Bigirimana

Gael Bigirimana
Squad number: 38
Nationality: Burundian
Born: 22nd October, 1993, Bujumbura, Burundi
Height: 175cm
Weight: 68kg
Previous club: Coventry City
Signed: July 2012 from Coventry City
Newcastle United debut: 23rd August, 2012 v Atromitos (away), Europa League
Position: Midfielder


Gael Bigirimana became Newcastle United's second signing of the summer of 2012, when he put pen to paper on a five-year contract on 6th August.

The teenage midfielder arrived on Tyneside for an undisclosed fee, having caught the eye while playing for Championship outfit Coventry.

Following his signing, Bigirimana headed straight out on the Magpies' pre-season tour of Austria and Germany, where he appeared in all three of their friendlies, including a starting spot against AS Monaco.

His United debut came in the Europa League fourth qualifying round first leg tie away at Greek outfit Atromitos, on 23rd August, 2012, where he played the full 90 minutes.


Early Days

Bigirimana grew up in war-torn Burundi, where he played football barefoot on the streets, and also lived in Uganda before following his mother to England, along with his father, two brothers and sister in 2004.

Soon after his arrival in the country, Bigirimana knocked on the door of Coventry City's Academy asking for a trial, began training with the Sky Blues the next day and was accepted into their ranks.

He worked his way up through the system at the Ricoh Arena, signing his first professional deal for the club in the summer of 2011, and made his professional debut on 8th August, 2011, in a 1-0 defeat against Leicester City.

Although Coventry struggled during the season and were ultimately relegated from the Championship, the emergence of Bigirimana was a real shining light. The youngster made 26 appearances in total and also picked up the Championship's Apprentice of the Year award.


International Career

Bigirimana was selected in the England Under-20 squad for the 2013 Under 20 World Cup in Turkey.