Charlie Savage is determined to make his own mark on the game as the Manchester United youngster follows in the footsteps of famous father Robbie.
It is 32 years since Savage Sr pitched up at Old Trafford, going on to play in the FA Youth Cup-winning Class of 92 before joining Crewe without making a first-team appearance.
Another Savage is now in the United youth set-up and Charlie fulfilled a lifelong dream by making his senior debut as a substitute against Young Boys in the Champions League in late 2021.
The 20-year-old regularly jokes with his dad that has the edge on him as a result, but Robbie’s humorous retort reminds him there is a long way to go.
“I say it all the time to him,” Charlie Savage told the PA news agency. “He played 346 games in the Prem and he says come back to me when you’ve played 347!
“I’d have to play every game in a row for 10 years to do that!”
You could feel the respect as Charlie spoke about his dad’s career, which saw him represent Leicester, Birmingham, Blackburn and Derby in the Premier League as well as play 39 times for Wales.
That impressive CV and subsequent media career piques interest and leads to comparisons when the 20-year-old comes into focus, but he brushes such talk aside.
“With the industry that we’re in, it’s fair that people say about my dad and stuff,” Savage said. “But I definitely am my own player.
“I think we’re quite different as players. It’s hard to compare me and him because we’re from two different eras.
“Obviously if I go and have the career that he had, I’d be very happy – playing for your country and playing more than 340 times in the Premier League.
“My aim is to be my own man but, like I say, it doesn’t really bother me that people compare me to my dad because I am proud that he is my dad.”
That pride is reciprocated by his father, who was emotional on co-commentary duties when Charlie came on against Young Boys.
A clip then went viral of the ex-Wales international expressing his joy after seeing his son had netted his first senior goal during his loan at Forest Green in the second half of last season.
It is a time Savage junior took a lot from, embracing life in Gloucestershire and building a bond with staff beyond the field in a season that ultimately ended in relegation from League One.
Savage says playing for a club built on sustainability has made him “more environmentally conscious” and has backed them to bounce straight back under Everton great Duncan Ferguson.
“He’s been fantastic with me,” Savage said of the Forest Green boss.
“He’s not who everyone makes him out to be in terms of the hardman persona. He’s honestly really caring.
“I’m forever grateful for him giving me a chance and sticking with me.”
Savage is now looking forward to the next step in his career for club and country.
He is taking part in a Wales training camp later this month and plans to work throughout the summer to give himself the best chance of impressing back at United.
“I think it’s tough to say at the minute,” he said of his ambitions for the 2023-24 campaign.
“Obviously it’s everyone’s dream to make it at United when you’ve come through here as a boy, so I have to work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.”
United technical director Darren Fletcher kept in frequent contact during his time at Forest Green, as did loan managers Les Parry and Danny Keough.
Young midfielder Charlie Savage has put pen to paper on a contract extension with the Reds — congratulations, Charlie! #MUFC | #MUAcademy
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 19, 2022
Savage said that hands-on approach “sticks with you”, so too the chance to work so frequently with United boss Erik ten Hag after he arrived last summer.
“I went on the tour in pre-season to Thailand and Australia,” said the midfielder, who came on at half-time in the 4-0 win against Liverpool in Bangkok before getting further minutes Down Under.
“I spent the first two, three months of the season with them every day, so it was a really, really good experience learning from him and taking knowledge from him.
“I think United have had a really good season, winning the Carabao Cup and potentially winning an FA Cup, so I’d say he’s done a really good job.”
Savage would love to have another chance to impress this pre-season and is staying open-minded about his future.
“I’d have liked to make my debut for Wales,” he said when asked where he sees himself in a year.
“I think that’s the next one, not to tick off as such but that’s my next aim along with just playing at the highest level I can.
“Whether that be on a better loan, at United or whatever it is. Football works in weird ways. you never know where you’re going to be until maybe a week before.”
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