The work of grassroots football coaches must be recognised to keep the game moving forward, according to former Welsh international Ryan Giggs.
The Manchester United legend dropped in at Fishguard Sports AFC to help launch the 2017 McDonald's Community Awards, which celebrates the unsung heroes of grassroots football.
Fishguard coach Matthew 'Minty' Lamb was named Community Coach of the Year at the 2016 awards, having overseen a huge increase in junior participation in the Pembrokeshire club.
Lamb established a junior girls team that sees up to 50 players training with it every week, along with a disability team that trains weekly and competes in tournaments across south west Wales.
“It’s great to see the work that Minty is doing in Fishguard," said Giggs. “Girls football is growing and the impact that Wales made in Euro 2016 is going to see the game here grow more. It has impressed me how much knowledge these girls have. They gave me some great feedback about the game."
Giggs won 64 international caps for Wales and made a club-record 963 appearances in 25 years as a Manchester United player, winning 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and four FA Cups.
The 43-year-old, who hung up his boots in 2014, spent the majority of his career under the tutelage of one of the greatest managers of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, but he still remembers his very first coach.
“My first experience of football was with a Sunday League team. Thirty-five years on I'm still talking about my first coach, Dennis Schofield. The impact coaches like him have needs to be recognised and the McDonald's Community Awards is a great way to do that.
“These are the people who make sure that the pitches, bibs, ball and nets are all in place. It's great that they are being recognised. That recognition gives them the impetus to move forward and keep coaching the kids, who will be the football players of the future."
Having moved from player to the coaching staff at Manchester United, Giggs has taken a step back from coaching this year, spending more time on TV punditry and a new role as a UEFA technical observer. He admits that he wants to return to coaching one day but says he is in no rush.
That was good news for the players at Fishguard Sports, who clearly enjoyed their training session with one of the finest players of his generation.
To nominate your grassroots football hero for a a McDonald's Community Award, visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/awards.