Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped his assistant Carlos Queiroz totake over from him when he finally steps down at Old Trafford.

Ferguson, who has been in charge at United since 1986, says he has no immediate plans to retire, but thinks Queiroz would be an ideal replacement.

“Can he be the next manager? Why not? He knows how to be one, has experience, he is very bright,” said Ferguson.

“There are many Portuguese people in football but I have the best one here in Carlos Queiroz.”

Ferguson, however, has scotched reports that me is conisdering retirement.

“I am willing to stay on. We are building a new great team,” he told Portuguese magazine Visao:

“We have some of the best talent in the world and some youngsters who will be sure bets in this game and also this business. Why would I retire?”

Ferguson had planned to retire at the end of the 2001-02 season but was persuaded to stay and signed a three-year deal, which expires in June.

“Sometimes I ask: ‘Do I still have energy?’,” added Ferguson.

“But then I look to my side and I see businessmen in their 80s, full of energy, clarity and strength, who continue to work and I think: ‘If they, at 82, can then why can’t I at 63?”