Alexandra Soccer & Community Association
 
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Robbie Savage

Wales

Born in Wrexham in 1974, Robbie Savage is one of the most controversial footballers of his generation. The floppy haired midfield enforcer is, however, yet another example of a player who, having been thrown on the footballing scrap heap as a kid, bounced back with Crewe Alexandra Football Club to enjoy a fine career at all levels, including International.

Robbie was actually a member of Crewe's Centre of Excellence in his schoolboy days, but was pulled away from Gresty Road when he was tempted with a YTS offer at Premiership giants Manchester United.

During his time at Old Trafford he played in the same youth team as the likes of Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and the Neville brothers and helped the club win the FA Youth Cup in 1992 with a 6-2 aggregate victory over Crystal Palace.

A full time professional contract was soon on offer but then, Savage's world fell apart when United boss Alex Ferguson decided to release him after just a season on the senior staff and without having made a single first team appearance.

In July 1994 the young Welshman returned to Gresty Road as Dario Gradi gave him a chance to rebuild his career, and Savage grasped the opportunity with both hands.

He made his Alex debut, ironically, against his home town club Wrexham on 10 September 1994 as Crewe lost 1-0 at the Racecourse Ground, and scored his first goal for the Railwaymen just three days later in a defeat at Oxford United.

At the end of that first season the Alex finished third in the old Second Divison, missing out on promotion in the play-offs, and the following season Savage helped the Railwayaymen to the Play Offs again, this time missing out in the Semi-Final stage to Notts County.

The season proved to be a landmark one for Savage however. Not only did he feature regular in the Alex midfield and begin to build his reputation, but he was also handed his first International Cap for Wales, when Bobby Gould used him as a substitute in World Cup Qualifying draw with Albania in November 1995.

The 1996/97 season proved to be his third and final year at Gresty Road, and was once again a successful one. Having finished sixth in Division 2, the Alex qualified for the play-offs again and, although Savage wasn't involved in the Semi Final games with Luton Town or in the final at Wembley against Brentford, he had certainly played his part in one of the Alex's most momentus achievements.

However that summer having made 95 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times over the three years he spent in South Cheshire, Savage decided to move on.

When his contract expired in July, the Welshman made his way to Martin O'Neill's Leicester City for £400,000 and begin another fine chapter in his career.

Savage's versatility in midfield saw him become a key member of O'Neill's successful Foxes side of the late 1990's as he enjoyed a formidable midfield partnership with former Crewe team-mate Neil Lennon and Turkish International Muzzy Izzet.

He also become a regular Welsh International, scoring his first International goal against European Champions Germany, and becoming a talismatic figure for both club and country.

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