GAEL Bigirimana admits it has been a battle to survive at times during a “suffocating” first season in black and white.
The Newcastle midfielder candidly confesses that it has been a steep learning curve for him since joining from Coventry in the summer – but is now all smiles again as the Gallic-powered Magpies look to be back on track.
Humble and honest, Bigirimana admits to being thrown in at the deep end by United boss Alan Pardew after a series of injuries stripped the squad down to the bare bones.
Neutrals might have viewed the former Coventry man’s performances as promising, but Bigirimana knows that he is capable of better and has pledged to keep working hard to give Pardew a selection headache in the midfield engine room.
Bigirimana has been on the bench since the recruitment of five-star French talent that has re-energised Newcastle’s season, although he still hopes to figure between now and May.
And his experiences so far will only help him as he looks ahead to a bright future at the club.
“As a swimmer you don’t know how to swim if they don’t put you in at the deep end. That’s what’s happened this year,” he told The Journal.
“I haven’t played in the Premier League before but the gaffer has put me in this season and I am so grateful to him. Sometimes I’ve suffocated, but I’ve come up again and I survived.
“It is a lesson for me and I know I have more to learn, but I will work very hard to make sure I keep improving.