Savage and Koumas continue Wales' family tradition

L-R: Charlie Savage, Robbie Savage, Jason Koumas and Lewis Koumas

There is a long tradition of young Welsh footballers following in the footsteps of their dads.

Wales great Cliff Jones succeeded his 10 time-capped father Ivor.

Fellow 1958 World Cup squad member Mel Charles - brother of the legendary John - saw his son Jeremy continue the family tradition.

More recently, midfielder Billy Bodin earned a Wales cap to emulate his father Paul.

Now manager Robert Page has included two sons of Wales internationals in his squad for friendlies against Gibraltar on Thursday, 6 June and Slovakia on Sunday, 9 June.

Reading's former Manchester United midfielder Charlie Savage, 21, has already earned his first cap to the immense pride of his dad Robbie.

Uncapped Liverpool forward Lewis Koumas, 18, is also in the 25-man squad looking to tread the path of his father Jason, who scored 10 goals in 34 Wales appearances.

But though Page took the field for Wales alongside both fathers of his current charges, he insists the sons have deserved their recognition.

"They've earned the right to be here, let me tell you," said Page. "They're two wonderful players and I can't wait to work with them.

"Charlie we've seen a bit of. Lewis, I saw making his debut with the [Wales] Under-21s and scoring, it was a difficult goal. He took it with class.

"I'm really excited about working with him. He can play as a nine or whether he comes off the left, he's a goalscorer and he's shown it for Liverpool. I'm excited by it.”

Charlie Savage made his Wales bow in last October's 4-0 win over Gibraltar at the Stok Racecourse and gave an eye-catching display.

"We monitor what they do at club level, and Charlie will have had a frustrating time at club level.

"But I know what he's capable of doing at international level.

"We did it with JJ (Jordan James). JJ when fit will play the majority of games for us because of what he's done in his level of performance.

"At Birmingham he was in and out, and when he did play he didn't play as a six where we played him.

"If the lads are playing well for us and showing me that they've earned the right for the jersey then they'll continue to be selected."

Page admitted he had plenty of contact from Robbie around the time of Charlie's first call-up last autumn. He has had less communication since.

But he said: "It's all good banter. You all want the best for your kids. He's fully supportive of Charlie.

"As a player, it's good that you've got somebody like your dad that really cares.

"Whether it's just there for a conversation or there to push you, he won't give him two minutes.

"Charlie will have a career because of his own ability anyway, but when you've got a dad like Robbie pushing him, that helps."

Page has not had a conversation with Koumas senior, but is looking forward to coming across him again and has fond memories of the talented former Tranmere, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan and Cardiff midfielder.

“He was an unbelievable player. I think he could have played at the top for a lot longer than what he did," said Page.

"He was incredible with both feet. A great player.

"I haven't seen Jase for years, but no doubt I'll have a conversation with him."

Charlie Savage and Lewis Koumas have previously reportedly interested England, for whom they are also qualified.

But now Charlie has been capped and Lewis has come through the Wales system.

“There's no worries about that,” said Page.

"We're confident that when they come into the environment that they'll stay on board with us.

"They see the pathway, that's important.

"They see that I'm not afraid to promote young players and we're showing our intent now in the summer."

Charlie Savage and Lewis Koumas have plenty left to prove – but it seems the famous Red Wall of Wales fans will have some proud dads in their number for many years to come.

And the father and son Wales tradition will continue for a good while yet.