Class of '92 diary: Ryan Giggs on Salford City, Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City
By Tim Clement
Last Updated: 03/08/17 11:25pm
In the first edition of our weekly Class of '92 diary, Ryan Giggs discusses Salford City's transformation into a professional outfit and how Manchester City look the team to beat in the Premier League this season.
The Salford co-owner and Manchester United legend also provides his predictions for the opening £1m round of Soccer Saturday Super 6, Salford's new sponsor, while revealing which player he would sign for one game with the winnings.
Salford go pro
It's been so far, so good since going professional. Obviously having training every day is different and we've got the youth team as well now, and they've been working with the first team.
We're looking to create a framework within which the club can get promotion but also be on the right track to have success over the next 10 to 25 years.
That's why we've created a youth team. It's the blueprint for how we were successful at Manchester United and if you want to be sustainable, then you need to bring through young players, which the fans can relate to as well.
We've also been able to bring in players from higher divisions that are from Salford, so we're trying to retain the club's identity while moving forward.
We also want the team to play football the right way, passing the ball, using attacking wingers, going for a second goal when we're 1-0 up.
That's the sort of philosophy we want to bring to the club and what we've been discussing in our meetings every Friday. Those three-to-four hour discussions every week are now coming to fruition, which is really exciting to see.
I've been down to watch training a few times and pre-season is very different to when I started. My first pre-season was back in 1991 and the first week wasn't something you would look forward to. It was just running and you wouldn't see a ball.
The influence of sports scientists and foreign coaching has probably made it a lot easier on the players, although saying that, the lads were on running drills when I went down last week.
The team have looked really good in the friendly matches, though. I went to watch the game against FC United when they looked very strong and against Manchester United Under-23s, they looked even better, especially in the first half, so it's really encouraging.
Super 6 £1m jackpot
Soccer Saturday Super 6 jackpot is £1million until won. Enter your predictions for free here.
City the team to beat
Manchester United needed some new blood and the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic removed the question as to whether he was replaced. Romelu Lukaku will score goals, there's no doubt about that.
He's still got to work on his first touch but he has already been scoring plenty at West Brom and Everton and will get more chances at Old Trafford.
What he won't have experienced is the pressure of being a Manchester United forward. He wouldn't have felt that before and you can't get away with the odd mediocre performance.
There were too many home games last season where we didn't take our chances but it's not just down to Lukaku, the rest of the team need to be contributing as well.
I think Manchester City are the team to beat though. I looked at them towards the end of last season and the forward players they've got is scary, with Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling.
What they needed to get right was their defence and it will be interesting to see how Ederson settles in, because you don't win the Premier League with an average goalkeeper.
They've obviously invested heavily on full-backs but the question is still whether Vincent Kompany can stay fit because his influence and experience are key for them.
You can't ignore Chelsea because of their quality, but have they got the squad to balance defending the Premier League and European football? I'm not sure.
Tottenham have a really exciting squad and a great manager in Mauricio Pochettino, but everybody is asking whether they can continue to match sides without signings.
I think they need a couple, not to improve their starting line-up but to make the squad better, while they've also got the Wembley factor, so they really need to get off to a good start.
Everton are an interesting one and Ronald Koeman has made plenty of signings, including obviously bringing back Wayne Rooney. He's a proven goalscorer and scores more often than not when he gets chances.
Super 6 picks
The Sky Bet Championship is always tough to predict and some of those games are really difficult. I nearly went Wolves 1-0, so hopefully I won't be regretting switching to a draw there...
Bristol City 1-2 Barnsley
Wolves 1-1 Middlesbrough
Sheffield United 1-0 Brentford
Ipswich 1-3 Birmingham
Fulham 2-0 Norwich
QPR 2-2 Reading
And finally, if you won the Super 6 £1m jackpot and could sign one player on loan for one game for Salford, who would it be?
I'm going for Lionel Messi. There's nothing between him and Cristiano Ronaldo, who I've personally always favoured, but Salford have seen a lot of him, so I'd bring over Messi.