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How Robbie Savage overcame rejection
Around the Academy:

Robbie Savage in action for Leicester City
Savage left Leicester for Birmingham City
Life as a professional footballer may seem like a dream job, but there can be pitfalls along the way as Robbie Savage tells the BBC Sport Academy.

Wales and Birmingham City midfielder Robbie Savage is a shining example of how to fight back from rejection.

And his message is this: "Even if you think that you are not good enough - as I once thought - keep trying, keep believing in your own ability".

As a 19-year-old, Savage was in illustrious company.

He progressed through the Manchester United youth ranks with the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.

Savage in action against Argentina
Robbie has played against the world's best - and Argentina
But a double hernia operation saw him miss six months of his first season as a professional at Old Trafford.

Savage was a striker in those days, playing his part in United 1992 FA Youth Cup success.

But being called into Sir Alex Ferguson's office for a meeting with the manager was the start of a day that changed his life.

"The manager said: "unfortunately Robbie we are going to release you as I feel that we have better strikers than you at the club.""

"So I went home, still thinking about it, and had a car crash on the way, ending up in hospital to cap a very bad day.

"I was absolutely devastated. I thought that was it for me. I'd been released by the best club in the world and thought that I obviously was not good enough.

"I was thinking am I still going to be a footballer? But I always believed in myself and I bounced back."

While in hospital Savage had a phone call from Crewe Alexandra boss Dario Gradi, a club with whom Savage had trained at their School of Excellence between the ages of 12 and 14.

He signed a two-year contract with the Gresty Road club and The Railwaymen set him back on the right track.

Savage attempts to tackle Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Savage never made it at United
"I felt I was lucky to go to a club that was renowned for graduating youngsters through the ranks and into the first team.

"There was no better club than Crewe for me to go to, and I knew that if I lived up to my ability I would get a chance to move on."

Savage caught the eye of the then Leicester City boss Martin O'Neill, who was ironically at a game to watch Danny Murphy, and the Welshman moved to Filbert Street in a 400,000 deal.

"I'd been at the top club and then moved to Crewe where I had to wash my own kit so it was a case of experiencing the highs and the lows.

"When I signed for Leicester I didn't feel as though I had made it, but when you become a regular in the team that is when you feel that you have bounced back.

"If you keep trying and live right then you have a chance. I never went out when I was a teenager and was very dedicated to succeed. The rewards these days are incredible."

Robbie Savage profile
Date of birth: 18 October, 1974
Birthplace: Wrexham
Clubs: Manchester United, Crewe Alexandra, Leicester City, Birmingham City
Honours: FA Youth Cup 1992, League Cup 2000
International debut: Wales v Albania, November 1995

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I'd been released by the best club in the world.. I was thinking am I still going to be a footballer?

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Robbie Savage

Birmingham City

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