Football - Ferguson: I'll stay two or three more years

Sir Alex Ferguson might be at an age when most of his peers are more interested in mugs of horlicks than the 4-4-2 system, but he has said that he will carry on at Manchester United for at least "two or three" more years.

With the United manager turning 71 on New Year's Eve, speculation has been mounting that he will retire at the end of the season - particularly since Ferguson, with a seven-point lead, looks firmly on course to collect a 13th league title with the club.

That speculation has been further fuelled by the fact that three of the best young managers in the game are all likely to be available this summer: former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is expected to return after his sabbatical year, Jose Mourinho is widely expected to part company with Real Madrid, and Everton boss David Moyes is approaching the end of his contract and has furthermore complained publicly that he will have no funds for anything other than a few loan deals in the current transfer window.

But Ferguson has poured cold water on those reports that he could be on his way, letting slip that it will be "two or three years" before any replacement is needed.

“I’m hoping to stay for a bit of time," told the Abu Dhabi Sports channel, adding that there has been no contact with any of the three outstanding candidates tipped to replace him.

" There is no one on the agenda, I can assure you. It’s very difficult as names have been bandied about and football is precarious," he said.

“You could be talking about one of the potentially exciting young managers — is he going to be here in two years?

"I think top managers will always be in demand.

"Guardiola, Mourinho, David Moyes, there are a lot of successful managers out there and I don’t know what their plans are.

"Who knows where they will be in two or three years."