Newcastle teenager Gael Bigirimana admits this season has been a dream
Gael Bigirimana has been taken aback by his 'ridiculous' start at Newcastle ahead of the clash with Manchester United.
Last Updated: 26/09/12 7:08pm
The teenage midfielder arrived in England as a 10-year-old refugee from Burundi before joining the Magpies from Coventry this summer.
He was handed his senior debut in the Europa League clash with Atromitos in Athens last month, and has since tasted Premier League action as a substitute.
But on Wednesday night, the now 18-year-old could find himself in Alan Pardew's team as the Magpies launch their cup campaign with a third round trip to Old Trafford, and that would represent another high.
Bigirimana said: "I just keep saying it's been a dream because it's been ridiculous the way things have gone - in a good way - playing as many games as I have.
"Thanks to the manager, he has put his trust in me, and the staff and the players, and I have just got to trust in the manager for the decisions he makes.
"He knows what's best for me because he has already given me the chance to play the games I didn't think I would play, so I have just got to trust him and keep working hard.
"When we heard that we were drawn with Manchester United, it was a really good draw. The club is just massive and the stadium is like a dream for every kid, so I just hope the manager will bring me on or start me.
"If I come on for five minutes, it will be a dream come true - even to just play five minutes, 10 minutes at that stadium."
Pardew has high hopes for Bigirimana, who turned in a mature individual display in last Thursday night's 0-0 Europa League draw with Maritimo in Madeira.
The manager will have midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote available on Wednesday night for the first time since he damaged a calf muscle against Tottenham on the opening day of the season.
Tiote is expected to play some part in the game, and whether he is on the pitch next to him or watching from the bench, Bigirimana will be under instructions to carefully study how he goes about his job.
Pardew said: "Obviously, I am moulding him very much around Cheick and saying, 'Learn as much as you can'.
"He is 18, Bigi, and he has got the best years, obviously, ahead of him. He couldn't learn from a better player than Cheick Tiote - and if he gets anywhere near him, we will be absolutely delighted."
The youngster will have a sizeable contingent of family and friends in the stands at Old Trafford as he attempts to put into practice the lessons he has learned during his first few months on Tyneside.
He said: "I have learned that by working hard, you get your rewards. I have seen all the top players at the club, in training it's always as if their life depends on it.
"That just shows me that for me to be where they are, every day I have got to work hard because the talent is there.
"As a kid, every footballer, you have your talent, but it's how your mentality goes, so I have learned to have a strong mentality and just to keep working harder and harder."