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 20)
Place of birth Bujumbura, Burundi
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Newcastle United
Number 20
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.

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] Coventry City Academy Manager Gregor Rioch said "Gaël is originally from Burundi in Africa and his family moved over and knocked on the door as an 11-year old and asked for a trial. He was told he would have to play for a local team and be seen, but then as he ran up the road one of the scouts saw Gaël sprinting away and called him back."

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 team 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, with a sweet drive, completing a 3-0 win at home to Wigan Athletic, becoming the first Burundian to score in the Premier League.[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] providing the assist for Chris Long's goal.

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 Gael 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]

Club[edit]

As of match played 28 August 2013.[17]
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.