Friday 06 July 2012
Newcastle United have completed the signing of midfielder Gael Bigirimana from Coventry City.
The Burundian-born 18-year-old, who made 26 appearances for the Sky Blues in the Championship last season, has signed a five-year deal after Newcastle agreed to pay an undisclosed fee.
"You never get too many opportunities like this," Bigirimana told the club's official website. "It might come once in a lifetime and sometimes you have to just take it and go and learn."
Opportunities like this might come once in a lifetime and sometimes you have to just take it and go and learn
- Gael Bigirimana
It has been a steep learning curve for Bigirimana, who was given his chance to shine at Coventry when he came upon the academy centre by chance.
"One day I was going with my brother to buy some milk form Asda when I looked to my right and there was the centre where the Coventry youth academy train," added the defensive midfielder.
"The next day I went there and asked if I could train."
Bigirimana, who grew up in Burundi and lived for a time in Uganda before coming to England in 2004, was given his chance by the Midlands club and has not looked back since.
After breaking into the first team last season he made such an impression that he won the division's Apprentice of the Year Award for his standout performances in central midfield even though Coventry were relegated.
The 18-year-old is considered a great prospect for the future and is expected to link up with Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's Development Squad at the beginning of his Tyneside career.