GAEL Bigirimana says he’ll come back stronger for his ‘frustrating’ season-long exile at Newcastle United.
The midfielder has made just one first-team appearance this season.
Bigirimana, 20, has instead spent the bulk of the campaign captaining the club’s Under-21 side, but he is determined to stay patient and keep working hard.
“I’m not going to lie – it’s been frustrating,” Bigirimana said.
“I’d rather be with the first team, but I’m here to help the club in any way.
“If that is to be with the reserves and work with the young players that the club is trying to promote, that’s fine by me.”
The the England Under-20 international impressed last season after joining from Coventry City in a £1m deal.
And Bigirimana – who made 25 appearances and scored one goal – had hoped to establish himself as a first-team player this term.
But he has made only one senior appearance, against League Two club Morecambe in the Capital One Cup tie early in the season.
However Bigirimana, an unused substitute against Stoke City earlier this month, remains hopeful he will get a Premier League chance before the end of the season.
“It would be nice to play in the Premier League, but it’s up to the manager,” he said. “I can only do what I can do.”
Bigirimana – who captained Newcastle’s Under-21s against Arsenal yesterday – scored in Tuesday night’s 4-0 Northumberland Senior Cup final win over Blyth Spartans at St James’s Park.
It was the first medal of the Burundi-born player’s career.
“It was a good win,” said Bigirimana. “You can say ‘it’s only the Senior Cup’, but the first cup is always one to remember.
“This, for me, is the first one. I’ve never had the chance to play Sunday league and gain medals and cups.
“So for me it’s special. I hope it’s the first of many. It’s like a door has opened.”