Steve Bruce believes Birmingham may have unearthed the new Robbie Savage in the form of teenage midfield dynamo Fabrice Muamba.
But the Blues chief stressed his determination to protect the former Arsenal youngster from burn-out.
Bruce left England Under-19 skipper Muamba out of his plans for last Saturday’s goalless draw with Liverpool at Anfield to enable him to recharge his batteries.
He can see similarities with Savage who played a major role in helping Blues establish themselves in the Premiership before leaving in acrimonious circumstances for Blackburn in January 2005. Bruce said: "I just gave Fabrice a rest at the weekend. I’ve got to remember he is a 19-year-old boy. I just pulled him out for his own good.
"You look at him and he trains and plays every day as if it is going to be his last session or last game. He gives everything every time.
"Sometimes I just have to protect him and I did that at the weekend so he will now be nice and fit and fresh."
Bruce added: "I hate to go back to Robbie Savage, who for two years was fantastic for us, but Fabrice does play with that same enthusiasm and desire which rubs off on everybody.
"He makes things happen, tackles and breaks play up but also drives forward to good effect. He is as strong as an ox."