United stars want pledge over Fergie's future before signing deals
Published 21/02/2012 | 05:00
Manchester United's players have sought assurances about how long Alex Ferguson intends to continue before committing their future to the club, the Old Trafford manager has revealed.
Ferguson says he intends to remain at the helm for at least "two or three more years" before thinking about retirement.
He also expects to continue at the club in some capacity beyond his coaching career as he's likely to influence the identity of his successor.
Although he refuses to set a timetable for his departure from the dugout, Ferguson admits the expectation that he may soon move aside has impacted on contract negotiations with his players.
"They all ask," said Ferguson. "The players or their agents ask the chief executive, and the way David (Gill) answers is I have no intention of retiring at the moment and therefore it's not a question we need to answer, because we do not know.
"We've never discussed who would take over. That is a dangerous game. We need someone with experience at United. No doubt."
There is little to suggest Ferguson intends stepping down in the near future. He famously changed his mind about retiring in 2002 when he first pondered a director's role.
He now says when he does go, he wants to leave with United as Premier League champions.
"Being successful, you don't want to go out in an era when you're not successful," he said.
"You always want to go out on a winning note. I think you need stamina in my job. I'm blessed with that. If my health stays up, another two or three years won't hurt me.
"I think there will be a role at United after I finish. I'll know when I'm not enjoying it."