Starlet Gael Bigirimana has passed his first Big test
by Lee Ryder, Evening Chronicle
ALAN PARDEW has told Gael Bigirimana he has already passed the test of his first big season at Newcastle United with flying colours.
The teenager has been one of the highlights of the campaign for the Magpies this term after arriving from Coventry City for a nominal fee.
Battling Bigi's attitude has been fantastic this term.
In a season in which he was expected to play mainly in the development team, he has ended up playing in 19 matches in all competitions and netting his first goal at senior level with a great strike against Wigan Athletic in the 3-0 win last year.
Pardew told the Chronicle: "He is the bright spark of that underbelly which is under the first team.
"In and around the first team, he has done terrific.
"We are chuffed with him but we cannot expect him to play the next 17 games for us."
With Yohan Cabaye back for the Magpies and Pardew likely to lean on James Perch and Vurnon Anita, the Toon boss is considering taking Bigirimana out of the firing line.
He added: "I still expect him to only play four or five games.
"We should have Anita, Cabaye, Marveaux and Cheick Tiote, when he comes back, fit and well and playing."
Bigirimana will still be part of the first-team squad but, with the next phase of Development League games coming up, he will also play his fair share in the second string.
Pardew insisted he will still be considered at senior level.
Pardew said: "He should not really get in there yet, but he will do at some point."
Meanwhile, talk Newcastle are signing left-back Gaetan Bong from Valenciennes is thought to be incorrect.