Newcastle Utd’s Bigirimana determined to make a name for himself

JOY ... Newcastle United's Gael Bigirimana celebrates his goal against Wigan Athletic.
JOY ... Newcastle United's Gael Bigirimana celebrates his goal against Wigan Athletic.

GAEL Bigirimana’s determined to make a name for himself on the international stage with England – after breaking through at Newcastle United.

The midfielder’s in Peter Taylor’s Under-20 squad for World Cup, which kicks off in Turkey later this month.

And Burundi-born Bigirimana – who hopes to make his England debut in tomorrow’s friendly against Uruguay – can’t wait to represent his adopted country.

“Right now, it hasn’t actually sunk in yet,” said Bigirimana. “But when we’ve played the Uruguay game, it will start sinking in and our minds will be focusing on the first game with Iraq.

“It’s a big game and it’s an incredible tournament. It’s a World Cup, and to be involved in it is like another dream come true for me.

“I’d never experienced the international side of things before, and each day has been better as I’ve learned to play and work with different players from different clubs.”

Bigirimana – who joined Newcastle from Coventry City last summer – came to England as a refugee aged 10 after fleeing Burundi due to political instability.

And the 19-year-old told the Football Association’s official website: “If The FA thinks that I could be in the upcoming group of talent, then I would like to play for England, because they’ve been amazing to my family.

“They welcomed us, and gave my mum a place to live and to be free.

“For people like me to have been given an opportunity like this, and to achieve a goal and a dream is something amazing.

“So for me to play for England is like being able to say thanks to the country for giving people like me a chance to be free in a country where I was a stranger when I arrived.”