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Bigirimana Loving European Adventure

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Gael Bigirimana hopes Newcastle stay in Europe for as long as possible as he continues his footballing education

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Four of Gael Bigirimana's five starts for Newcastle have came in the Europa League so it's little wonder the teenage midfielder hopes that Newcastle's European adventure continues for as long as possible.

The Burundi-born youngster, who turned 19 this week, played the whole game as the Magpies beat Club Brugge 1-0 at St. James' Park to extend their lead at the top of Group D.

His United bow came in this competition against Atromitos in the fourth qualifying round first leg, while he also appeared in the second leg against the Greek outfit, started the opening group game in Maritimo and came off the bench against Bordeaux earlier in the month.

In his debut season on Tyneside since arriving from Coventry last summer, the tournament has provided Bigirimana with a real opportunity to make a name for himself and he's enjoying being involved in continental competition for the first time in his young career.

"The manager must like the way I play and he gives me chances, and I've just got to give him 100 per cent and make sure I don't let him down," he told nufc.co.uk after Gabriel Obertan's goal proved the difference against the current Belgian league leaders.

"He puts his trust in me so I've got to deliver the performances. I'm just gaining more experience and experience of different teams and different styles and different players. I'm learning and learning so it's really good.

"It's a great win today; seven points now and we're top of the league. At the moment we're unbeaten in the group so we've just got to keep going. We've got to take it game by game and make sure we're solid like we were today, and try to create more chances.

"The manager told us it was a big game for the group and that we had to have confidence with the ball and I think in the first half we were in control.

"Maybe in the second half, it was more end-to-end because they were going for it but I think we did well as a team and Sammy (Ameobi) had a great game. It's good to see him back."

Bigirimana started alongside Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote in a three-man central midfield before a change of formation took place at half-time and another tactical switch occurred during the second half.

"The gaffer wanted more energy and closing down and that's what he told us to do," he explained.

"I think we stopped them from playing at the back and that's why we had more possession. In the second half we went to 4-4-2 and then kind of three in the middle so we just had to be solid.

"It's a learning lesson for me."

Click here to buy a Newcastle United shirt with Bigirimana's name and number on the back