18 year-old Gael Bigirimana doesn’t know which country he should play for – either Burundi where he was born back in 1993, or England where he moved to as a refugee with his mother in 2004, after spending some time in Uganda.
Gael Bigirimana – already attracted Stuart Peace’s interest
And when we look at Gael’s record, and knowing how good he already looks at Newcastle, we’re just a bit surprised he hasn’t been capped at any England Youth level yet.
The Newcastle Journal is reporting today that Gael has been noticed by the England U21 manager and former Newcastle full-back Stuart Pearce, and if Gael is as good as he’s looking in Newcastle colors since he signed in July, he cannot be far away from an England U21 cap.
The 18 year-old central midfielder says he was finally included in an Under-19 squad last year, but didn’t make his debut, but now he’s at such a prominent club as Newcastle, surely he’ll soon pick up a cap at some level for England soon.
This is what Gael told the Journal today:
“International football is a privilege and I would be honoured to play it. As long as I’m playing for one, moving forward and improving I don’t mind what nationality I will play for.”
“England is like my second home but it is difficult for me because I have two homes. England has grown in me and I have met so many fantastic people and mentors who are English.” “That does not mean I am saying I don’t
“That is where I was born, where I saw my first sunset. England is like another place where God has put me for a purpose.” “England has great young players but they just need to enjoy their football again.”
“It looks like there is a big pressure when players go to play for England. There’s no need for that, there shouldn’t be any pressure when you put on an England shirt.” “It is like a bonus for a player when you play for your country.”
“It is a bonus – it is like a holiday. But it looks like when English players go to play for their country that the whole world’s eyes are on them, so no wonder they sometimes struggle.” “Hopefully that will change and it will be enjoyable for them again.”
England scouts know Newcastle have a number of top young England players, and of course Sammy Ameobi received two caps last season before he damaged his knee in January, and was subsequently out for the season, otherwise Sammy could even have made the Great Britain side for the Olympics.
We’re sure Stuart Pearce was made aware of how good Gael looked when he came on against Aston Villa and looked so at home in the Premier League in Newcastle’s last game, where we fought back from being 1-0 down to force the draw.
And Gael comes across as supremely confident, and is not over-awed by the occasion as some England players seem to be, and he came into the game against Aston Villa, and for an 18 year-old he looked just great.
Gael could well be the pick of the bunch of four players to arrive in the summer, although 23 year-old Vurnon Anita is showing he is also some player already.
We didn’t get enough players in over the summer, but the players we did get through the door all look excellent acquisitions - Frenchman Romain Amalfitano and Australian Curtis Good being the other two.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org