Charlie Savage’s rise up the ranks at Manchester United took a significant step on Wednesday when he signed his first professional deal with the club.
It’s a path that has already been trodden by his father Robbie, who then went on to carve an excellent career in the top flight featuring for the likes of Leicester City, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers as well as becoming a Wales international.
However, Robbie didn’t manage to break through to the first-team at Old Trafford despite featuring in the fabled youth set up of the Class of ’92 alongside the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
The midfielder left the club in 1994 three years after penning a pro contract for the Red Devils.
Charlie though has been tipped to at least go one better than Robbie though and make his debut for the club as Sportsmail looks at the lowdown on the Welshman who turns 18 next month.
Charlie Savage (left) has followed in his dad Robbie’s footsteps by signing his first professional contract at Manchester United
Who is he?
At the moment he is known as being the son of Robbie Savage but there is plenty of promise around Charlie and how he can develop in the next few years to carve out his own name in the game.
He became part of United’s Under 18 set-up in 2019 having impressed a year earlier as a scholar during a tournament in Hong Kong where he started every game as his side claimed success.
Despite struggles with injury last term the the 17-year-old, who is strikingly similar to his father with his long flowing hair, has since developed into one of the Under 18s’ most important players.
This season he has played 17 games, scoring twice as well as creating five assists.
Savage has impressed for United’s Under 18s this season, providing five assists so far
What is his style of play?
Like his father, Savage is a natural in centre midfield and is just as comfortable playing a holding role as well as going forward to help the attack.
This favours him as a box-to-box midfielder and proving that he is a chip off the old block, loves to engage in tackling opponents and winning the ball.
He does though have an eye for goal and his passing ability is impressive too making him an all-rounder in the middle of the park with few obvious weaknesses to exploit.
His father Robbie failed to make the grade at United but carved out a solid top flight career at Leicester City, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers (left)
What’s his international pedigree?
Technically, Savage could still become an England international having been born in Leicester in 2003, a year after his father left the Foxes to move to Ewood Park.
Unsurprisingly though he is hoping to follow in Robbie’s footsteps once again by going on to play for Wales.
After making his mark with the Under 17 side, he received his first cap with the Under 18 squad in March during a 2-0 friendly defeat by England having featured as an attacking midfielder before being replaced after 75 minutes.
Savage made his Wales Under 18s debut against England last month during a 2-0 defeat
Who are his influences at Old Trafford?
As a player looking to find his feet at the top level, Savage looks towards Scott McTominay the most claiming the current United star’s previous struggles in the youth set-up are an inspiration to young players and that he is always on hand to give advice.
Other United youngsters to have broken into the first-team in recent years including Marcus Rashford and Brandon Williams are also among his favoured stars.
‘The main inspiration for me is Scott — he’s the best with us,’ he told the Sun. ‘He comes over to talk to us. He had it difficult in the youth team.
‘He didn’t play many matches but he just kept going and he proved it’s not always the standout players who make the first team.
‘Sometimes it’s the players who might have had a back seat but they keep pushing and pushing. Scott, Marcus Rashford and also Brandon Williams all inspire us to improve and move forward.’
The midfielder admits he takes inspiration from Scott McTominay who came through the youth system at Old Trafford and still offers advice to young stars trying to come through
What’s been said?
Speaking on how his father has shaped his career, Savage admits that most of his development is down to the coaches during his upbringing.
‘My dad doesn’t really say too much to me’ he added. ‘He leaves that to the coaches who know better! He’s there if I need him but he always stresses to me how big a thing it is to play for your country — and that I should be proud of what I’ve achieved so far.
‘I think I’m a better finisher than him too! He won’t like me saying that — but if I can have half the career he had, then I’ll be very happy.”
Robbie is also happy to concede that his son is better in front of goal while praising his commitment to developing into the best player he can.
Wales Under 18 boss Rob Edwards has been impressed with Savage’s application
After seeing him score his first goal against Newcastle he said: ‘Proud of my boy , keeps going , keeps working hard , keeps listening to his coaches , he’s starting to get his rewards, better finisher than his dad.’
And in an emotional letter to his son, Robbie gave him advice for his journey at Old Trafford, telling him to trust his instincts and to follow in his own path – urging him to become a better footballer than he was.
‘Believe in your capabilities, knowledge and experiences. Never feel like an imposter or allow anyone to make you feel like one. Own your space – it is a right, not a privilege.
‘Remember my wish is not for you to follow in my path; it is for you to make your own path and be even better than me at whatever you do.’
He also told his child he must always feel ‘equal’ at the club and does not need to be ‘fixed’ as a player.
‘Never accept anything less than you deserve – in society or at work – for being individual. You are more than equal to anyone and therefore it is your right to be treated and rewarded fairly.
His father Robbie urged him to follow his own path and trust in his instincts as a footballer
‘Don’t let anyone try to “fix” you. You don’t need fixing. The systems around you will be broken at times and they will be the things that need to be fixed.
‘Be authentic and true to yourself. If you grow to love or have a passion for something, then do it and follow it, but remember it’s your choice and no one else’s.’
Meanwhile his Wales Under 18 boss Rob Edwards has also been impressed with Savage’s approach and tips him for a bright future.
Wales Under-18 boss Rob Edwards said: ‘I’ve got to say Charlie has a great attitude.
‘His presence in our camp is very professional. We set the standards of an elite environment and Charlie has come in and been a great character.
‘He played very well against England. The players wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think they had potential.’