Charlie Savage U21

NEWPORT, WALES - SEPTEMBER 08: Charlie Savage of Wales during the U21 international friendly match between Wales U21 and Liechtenstein U21 at Rodney Parade on September 08, 2023 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Charlie Savage Was Told To Quit Manchester United To Kickstart His Career

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By David Williams

Wales manager Rob Page has revealed he had to tell Charlie Savage to quit Manchester United to kickstart his career.

Savage – the 20-year-old son of former international now TV and radio pundit Robbie – could make his debut for his country next week.

The uncapped Reading midfielder is in line to play in Wales’ friendly against Gibraltar in Wrexham on Wednesday.

But back in the summer Page gave some blunt advice to the son of his former teammate when he told Savage junior to end his Old Trafford family dream.

Back in 1994, Robbie left United after finding his route to the first team blocked and relaunched his career with Crewe before moving on to Leicester City.

He went on to win 39 caps for Wales.

“I know what Robbie went through when he left Manchester United years ago to go to Crewe,” said Page.

“I was in contact with Charlie over the last few months and told him he needed to go out and play competitive football if he wanted a career and if he wanted international football.

“He took that advice on board, he went to Reading, where he is playing well and scoring goals.

“He was on stand-by with us in September and now he gets the next stage in his development and he deserves it.”\

Since leaving United, Savage has nailed down a first team place at League One Reading and scored two goals in 12 appearances.

The youngster is well regarded by Page and has played eight times across three age group sides for Wales. but is yet to represent the senior team.

Savage is not the only Wales player with a famous relative picked by Page, who faces a crunch Euro 2024 qualifier at home to Croatia next Sunday.

Liverpool defender Owen Beck, who is the great-nephew of the Liverpool and Wales legend Ian Rush, could also make his debut.

Beck, currently on loan at Dundee United, has earned a first senior call, while Regan Poole – who joined the League One leaders, Portsmouth, in the summer – has been recalled to the senior squad for the first time since 2019.

“We will have three days on the grass looking at the young players and then they will have the opportunity to play first team competitive game for Wales,” added Page.

https://twitter.com/BBCSportWales/status/1710327807841382423?s=20

Page has confirmed Wrexham striker Paul Mullin is on the standby list for the matches against Gibraltar and Croatia.

Wrexham striker Mullin, who scored his first two goals of the season in the draw with Crewe 10 days ago, qualifies to play internationally for Wales.

Page added: “Paul is on standby for the squad. I watched Paul Mullin against Sheffield United last year, and Jack Lester – my coach, who was at Sheffield United at the time – sang his praises.

“We’ve had a few conversations about Paul, so the next step is he’s now on standby and he’s one step away.

“We monitor the Welsh players, and Paul is certainly one we’ve taken note of – and he deserves that. This is the next step of his development.”

The match against Gibraltar is Wales’ first at the world’s oldest international football stadium since playing Trinidad & Tobago in 2019.

Page added: “It’s massive for us. On behalf of all the players we want to thank the North Walian supporters, who always travel to watch us.

“To come up to Wrexham, and show them that respect, and give them the opportunity to be at home, is just a small price for us to pay [to thank them].

“We’re looking forward to it. It was the home of Welsh football when I was growing up, and I watched many internationals from here when I was younger, and on the TV with Rushy and Mark Hughes. For us to be coming back up here to play again is exciting.”

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