Along with yet another double from in-form striker Demba Ba, Saturday's game against Reading also saw the Premier League debut of 18-year-old midfielder Gael Bigirimana.
The talented starlet was one of only a few signings the Magpies made over the summer, as he made the jump from the Championship to the Premier League, by moving from Coventry City to his new home on Tyneside.
Considering his age and raw talent, Bigirimana was expected to be stashed away for the future, but already we’re starting to see him challenge for a place in Alan Pardew’s starting line-up week-in and week-out.
Saturday’s start, of course, was more out of necessity than anything else with Yohan Cabaye suffering from an absess on his wisdom tooth, but still, starting for any reason at such a young age is not something to take lightly.
Beyond his first EPL start, Bigi has also been in the starting XI in all three of Newcastle’s games in Europa League play, and it looks like he’ll be a staple of Pardew’s young side for much of the competition.
So far, Bigirimana hasn’t quite blown people away, but it’s clear to see that some day he’ll be a defensive force much like his midfield partner on the weekend, Cheik Tiote, has become in his first three seasons at Newcastle.
Considering the interest that has been shown in the Ivorian recently, it might not be too crazy to think that Bigirimana could one day be his replacement, especially if he continues to develop at the same rate he is now.
Following some relative inactivity in the transfer window, Newcastle are going to be left short of depth this season – especialy if they advance to the later stages in the Europa League and possibly the FA Cup – so they will be counting on the performances of young players like Bigirimana to help when the inevitable injuries do occur.
We can’t expect the world out of him just yet, but plenty of chances are going to come for Bigirimana this season, and he may just surprise people with his play.
Graham Carr has become notorious for unearthing talent as Newcastle’s chief scout, and it looks like he’s done it again here.