O'Neill faces his former Leicester star for the first time tonight and told Villa's website: "It will be the first time I've come directly up against him. He was terrific for us at Leicester. We got him for £400,000 from Crewe and he was an absolute bargain.
"I think he's had an excellent career and he showed great heart for us at Leicester. He's as daft as a brush, but eventually, when everyone was fit, he, Neil Lennon and Muzzy Izzet were the thrust of our midfield.
"They kept Theo Zakorakis, who won player of the tournament for Greece and only cost us £700,000, out of the team."
O'Neill recalled one game in particular when Savage showed his worth to the Leicester cause.
He added: "There was one cup game against Hereford at Filbert Street where he and Izzet played the opposition on their own.
"We had a few injuries, but we also had a few who didn't fancy it that evening and the two of them kept us going.
"It would have been more than a surprise to have been beaten by Hereford at home, although we drew at their place to force the replay."