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The football focus is switched this weekend to another set of World Cup qualifiers, including Holland v Scotland and Portugal v Sweden.

Sir Alex Ferguson will retire as Manchester United manager at the end of next season, according to his son Darren.

Speculation about how long Ferguson will continue at Old Trafford has been ongoing since he changed his mind about quitting when he turned 60 seven years ago.

Now Darren Ferguson, manager of League One side Peterborough, has hinted it could be the summer of 2010 when his father decides to call it a day.

Ferguson has stated that he wants to help United equal Liverpool’s record of 18 English league titles, with the Red Devils just one adrift.

The North West rivals are battling for Premier League supremacy this term, with the Anfield outfit having cut United’s lead at the summit to just one point, although the reigning champions still have a game in hand.

”His health is fine and he’s building a new team,” said Darren. ”If they win (the Premier League) this year then they catch Liverpool in terms of titles won.

”I can see him doing this year and next – and then that might be it for him.”

Ferguson underwent a u-turn on his retirement date, which was originally scheduled for the end of the 2001-02 season, and passed the retirement age of 65 two years ago.

Since then he has refused to give any indication as to when he anticipates stepping down from a position he has held since 1986.

A year ago, Ferguson dismissed the prospect of retirement, joking that his wife would not be happy to spend more with him.

Ferguson said: “Retire? That wife of mine just bullies me, so she’d throw me out of the door at seven o’clock in the morning! So that’s a definite no. Oh no, I dare not risk the wrath of that lass from the Gorbals.

“She’s quite a formidable person! I am proud to have survived for so long, but it is easier for me than the rest because I am at such a great club. How would I be without this? Please tell me.

“This team is a good young one and has plenty of years left, so the 18th title will come. It has a lot of experience in Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. That kind of experience allows young players to develop.”

The football focus is switched this weekend to another set of World Cup qualifiers, including Holland v Scotland and Portugal v Sweden.

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