Earlier this week Charlie Savage signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United until 2015, with the option of a further year.
He started training at United when he was just five-years-old, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton all keen to get him in to their academy. His dad, Robbie Savage, spoke about his son’s ability at the time.
He goes to United’s development centre every week now and he’s absolutely loving it. They won’t decide if they want to put him into the Academy until he’s seven or eight so we don’t want to build his hopes up too much. Most boys his age just chase the ball around but he always seems to find himself a bit of space and time on the ball.
Now 19-years-old, Charlie has his first team debut under his belt, coming on for his first game last December in the Champions League match against Young Boys. Robbie was commentating for BT Sport that evening and couldn’t contain his pride.
Ahead of the game, Robbie was delighted just to see his name on the bench, and became emotional in front of the cameras.
I’m starting to tear up because Charlie has achieved so much in his young life. He’s never been top of the class but his application, his work ethic and desire has got him to where he is. My father who’s sadly not with us would be looking down proud of his grandson. Even if he doesn’t get on the pitch, whatever happens for the rest of his life he’s been on the bench for Manchester United. If he gets on to grace the Theatre of Dreams, his nana at home will be in tears now. He’s a great kid and he’ll do everything.
Robbie also made his way up through United academy and even got a professional contract but having spent five years with the club he was released. Sir Alex Ferguson summoned the 18-year-old Savage to his office to tell him that his time at United was over and on the way home he crashed his car, ending up in hospital for a week. He later reflected on that moment in an interview with The Guardian.
It was absolutely devastating. My heart was set on being a success at United. I came out in a daze. I didn’t know how I was going to tell my mum and dad so I phoned some mates and arranged to meet them at a local snooker hall. I couldn’t stop thinking about my parents and I guess I wasn’t concentrating. The next thing I know I had crashed and was in hospital: broken bones, cut head, no feeling in my arm, the lot.
Erik ten Hag is keen to utilise the young players he has at his disposal so we may see more of Charlie in the season ahead.