Manchester United academy graduates Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage are childhood friends and progressing at the club they love together.
Both midfielders have hit the headlines in pre-season with accomplished performances against Liverpool, Melbourne City and Crystal Palace.
The 19–year–old’s careers have been linked from the moment they met, both joining United’s academy at the age of five. Their birthdays are five days apart too, with Iqbal a little bit older than Savage.
During United’s tour of Thailand and Australia, their friendship has been evident and they are next to one another on almost every official photo.
The Telegraph offered insight into how they spend their downtime and it is regularly playing pool against one another.
Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage have both been at Manchester United since they were 5-years old. They’ve just made their first-team debut at the same time at the age of 18. 🇾🇪
13-years of friendship! 🤝 pic.twitter.com/9uVX7GAVxt
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) December 8, 2021
Erik ten Hag has taken an interest in the duo after their first-team debuts under Ralf Rangnick in last season’s Champions League against Young Boys.
Iqbal replaced Jesse Lingard and Savage came on for Juan Mata, which brought tears from father Robbie in the commentary box.
Savage Sr. was on the books at United in the 90s but never made a first-team appearance, meaning his son has already cleared one massive hurdle.
Neither would play again in a wretched campaign that saw United finish sixth with their lowest-ever
The former Ajax manager is known for his ability to work with younger players and was reportedly ‘left stunned’ by Iqbal’s talent in training.
Iqbal made history by becoming the first South Asian player to represent the Red Devils and he has swagger in his play, always looking to play between the lines.
Not to be overlooked, the composed Savage busted out a ‘Maradona turn’ in the 4-0 victory over Liverpool and even left Mohamed Salah in the dust.
It would be easy to shrink under pressure against Liverpool, but it was evident both lads fought for one another and the team.
United will be in the Europa League next season and it is the perfect competition to blood youngsters through.
Ten Hag was asked about how he will use his squad, given Iqbal and Savage’s performances, and offered an interesting reply.
He said: “Of course there is a past, but we don’t have to look back at the past, we have to look into the future.
“Those players have high potential, and when we construct a team, and they take the responsibility for their fitness, I am sure they will perform, and we will get the right results.
“I think it’s always a matter of developing. That’s with experienced players and with younger players. I am a coach, I am not afraid, if players are good enough and are old enough, I will play them.”
— UtdFaithfuls (@UtdFaithfuls) July 15, 2022
On the other hand, Iqbal and Savage have been nothing more than thankful to their manager.
Iqbal told MUTV after the Liverpool win: “Playing a very strong Liverpool team and obviously coming away with the win, I’d just like to thank the manager for putting his trust in me and Sav, you know?”
While Savage explained: “[It’s been] an absolutely amazing experience over here in Thailand. The fans have been amazing. “For me, it’s a privilege to be on this tour and to get the win was extra special tonight.”
Could we see Iqbal x Savage in the Premier League in 22/23? Watch this space. They clearly have all the determination in the world.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy & Charlie Savage/Instagram