Gaël Bigirimana

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Gaël Bigirimana
Personal information
Full name Gaël Bigirimana[1]
Date of birth (1993-10-22) 22 October 1993 (age 21)
Place of birth Bujumbura, Burundi
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Newcastle United
Number 38
Youth career
2005–2011 Coventry City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2012 Coventry City 26 (0)
2012– Newcastle United 13 (1)
National team
2013 England U20 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 March 2013.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:44, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Gaël Bigirimana (Kirundi pronunciation: [ɡaˈeːl βiɟiriˈmaːnaː]; born 22 October 1993) is a footballer who plays for Newcastle United as a midfielder.

Born in Burundi, Bigirimana moved to the United Kingdom with his family as a refugee in 2004 and chose to represent England at under-20 level in 2013.

Club career[edit]

Coventry City[edit]

Bigirimana was born in Bujumbura, Burundi but moved to the United Kingdom with his family as a refugee in 2004, having spent time living in Uganda.[3] He was taken on trial having asked at Coventry City's academy training facility.[3]

Graduating from the Sky Blues' youth set-up to sign his first professional deal for the club in the summer of 2011 and playing a role the Sky Blues' first team pre-season preparations for the 2011–12 campaign,[4] Bigirimana made his professional debut on 8 August 2011 in a 1–0 Championship defeat by Leicester City, playing the full 90 minutes.[5]

On 12 March 2012, Bigirimana won the Championship Apprentice of the Year Award for the 2011–12 season. He beat Crystal Palace's Jonathan Williams and Reading's Jordan Obita to the award.[6]

Newcastle United[edit]

On 6 July 2012, Bigirimana signed for Premier League club Newcastle United.[7] United's website confirmed Bigirimana had signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to be between £500,000 and £1,000,000. His competitive debut came on 23 August 2012, in Newcastle's 1–1 draw with Greek side Atromitos, in their UEFA Europa League Fourth Qualifying Round match,[8] before making his home Premier League debut on 2 September 2012 in a 1–1 draw with Aston Villa as a substitute for the injured Danny Simpson. He scored his first professional goal on 3 December to complete a 3–0 home win against Wigan Athletic after two earlier goals by Demba Ba.[9]

International career[edit]

In April 2012, Bigirimana announced that he would like to play for Rwanda at international level.[10] He was later considered by Rwanda for the 2013 African Youth Championship qualification stage.[11] In October, Bigirimana stated that he had rejected an international call-up from Burundi due to political instability in the country.[12]

In May 2013, Bigirimana was called up to the provisional England squad for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.[13] On 28 May 2013, he was named in the final squad by manager Peter Taylor.[14] He made his debut on 16 June, in a 3–0 win in a warm-up game against Uruguay.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Bigirimana was born in Bujumbura to a Burundian father and a Rwandan mother.[16] Before leaving Coventry City for Newcastle, he attended Mosaic Church in Hillfields, Coventry. Whilst at Mosaic Church, Bigirimana regularly helped coach the church football team and as a result Athletico Mosaic were promoted from the Coventry and District Church Division 2 to the Premier Division.

Career statistics[edit]

As of 28 August 2013.[17]
Club performance
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Coventry City 2011–12[18] Championship 26 0 1 0 1 0 28 0
Newcastle United 2012–13[19] Premier League 13 1 1 0 1 0 10[a] 0 25 1
2013–14[20] Premier League 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Total 13 1 1 0 2 0 10 0 26 1
Career Total 39 1 2 0 3 0 10 0 54 1
  1. ^ Appearances in the UEFA Europa League

Honours[edit]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 – List of Players" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). p. 8. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack, eds. (2012). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2012–2013 (43rd ed.). London: Headline. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-7553-6356-8. 
  3. ^ a b "Coventry's boy from Burundi". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Coventry City 0–1 Leicester City". Coventry City F.C. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Coventry City v Leicester City". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Top award for Coventry City starlet Gael Bigirimana". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  7. ^ O'Rourke, Pete (6 July 2012). "Newcastle bag Bigirimana". Sky Sports. 
  8. ^ "Atromitos 1 Newcastle United 1". Newcastle United FC. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Newcastle 3-0 Wigan" BBC Sport. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012
  10. ^ Mugabe, Bonnie (2 April 2012). "Bigirimana keen on playing for Amavubi". New Times. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Coventry City: Gael Bigirimana in Newcastle United talks". Coventry Telegraph. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Bird, Simon. "Cream of the crop: How Bigirimana hit the big time thanks to a trip to buy milk". Daily Mirror. 
  13. ^ "U20 WORLD CUP SQUAD". The FA. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Final squad named" TheFA.com. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Training win for Three Lions" TheFA.com. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  16. ^ Nkuutu, Hamza (14 October 2012). "Bigirimana will pay off whoever trusts him". The New Times (Rwanda). Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Gael Bigirimana career stats at Soccerbase
  18. ^ "Games played by Gael Bigirimana in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Games played by Gael Bigirimana in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "Games played by Gael Bigirimana in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 30 May 2014.