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Savage outlines retirement plan

Robbie Savage
Robbie Savage has the most yellow cards in Premier League history

Controversial Welsh midfielder Robbie Savage will retire when his current Derby County contract expires in 2011.

Savage always stated he would end his career at home-town club Wrexham but he now concedes "that'll be it" when his new two-year Pride Park deal finishes.

"My new deal will take me until I'm nearly 37 and that'll be it," he said.

"I always said I'd like to finish my career at Wrexham but not now. Playing on loan at Brighton made me realise the lower you go the harder it is."

Savage is one of the British football's highest-profile players due to his fiery temperament, outspoken views, blond bombshell hairstyle and pantomime villain personality with opposition fans.

The former Manchester United apprentice has played more than 500 first-team games for Crewe Alexandra, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Derby and a loan stint at Brighton and Hove Albion.

But the 34-year-old has thanked Derby boss Nigel Clough for saving his career prematurely ,as Savage feared he was "finished" after being frozen out by former manager Paul Jewell.

"I thought my career was over until Nigel Clough came in," Savage told BBC Wales' Sport Wales television show.

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough put his arm around me and it doesn't matter if you're 17 or 34, an arm around you to tell you how good you are always works wonders and hopefully now I'm repaying him

Derby County midfielder Robbie Savage

"I had the captaincy taken away from me, I went on loan to Brighton and I was training with the kids.

"It couldn't have been much worse for me although I did thoroughly enjoy myself at Brighton.

"Being Robbie Savage the player everyone loves to hate, I was finished.

"The gaffer come in and put me back in the team, I've regained the captaincy and I'm probably playing the best I've played for a while.

"Nigel Clough put his arm around me and, it doesn't matter if you're 17 or 34, an arm around you to tell you how good you are always works wonders and hopefully now I'm repaying him.

"The extra year on my contract was a surprise and now I think I'll finish my playing career at Derby as I'll be retired at the end of this current contract."

Savage insists he will not follow fellow former Wales internationals such as Mark Hughes and Gary Speed into coaching as, perhaps unsurprisingly, he hopes to become a football pundit in the media.

The Welshman, capped just 39 times by his country before his acrimonious retirement in 2005, would have liked to play more Wales matches before his international career ended after a much-publicised bust-up with boss John Toshack.

Savage admits he also wished he handled some of his moves differently.

He left Birmingham for Blackburn in 2005 under a much-publicised cloud, while he departed Ewood Park too hastily for Derby after being left out of the side by his old Wales boss Mark Hughes.

"Mark Hughes was trying to look after me as he does with all of his players," said Savage.

"I was a bit petulant as I didn't get in the team for four or five games. He was trying to look after me but I was hot-headed and I left on the spur of the moment.

"I had a choice between Sunderland or Derby and I chose Derby.

"At the time it was a terrible decision. The confidence of the team was so low and the team was so hard to play in.

"It got worse and we ended up in relegation.

"In hindsight, I should have stayed at Blackburn and fought for my place - but I still feel I can still play in a lower team in the Premier League.

"But it wasn't to be and I'm happy now at Derby."

Savage also revealed he has since made up with former Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce after their public war of words following his move from St Andrew's to Blackburn four years ago.

Savage says his only footballing regret was not joining Everton when he was at Birmingham.

"When I signed for Blackburn, Everton came in with a similar bid," Savage admitted.

"But it was just the fact that Mark Hughes, who was my idol growing up as a kid, was manager at Blackburn."

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see also
Savage delight at new Derby deal
10 Aug 09 |  Derby
Feature: The rebirth of Robbie Savage
14 Feb 09 |  Football Focus
Savage praises Clough regime
27 Jan 09 |  England
Angry Savage hits out at critics
02 Oct 08 |  Brighton
Jewell happy to loan out Savage
23 Sep 08 |  Football
Savage told to improve by Jewell
04 Aug 08 |  Derby
Savage delighted after Derby move
09 Jan 08 |  Derby
Savage admits Wales career over
01 Sep 05 |  Internationals
Savage seals switch to Blackburn
19 Jan 05 |  Blackburn
Savage is miles apart
31 Dec 04 |  Fun and Games
Birmingham snub Savage bid
02 Sep 03 |  Birmingham
Robbie Savage - saint or sinner?
04 Mar 03 |  Football

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