Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson is reported to have annointed David Moyes as his chosen successor as manager of Manchester United in a snub to Jose Mourinho's aspirations of stepping into the Old Trafford hotseat.
A flurry of reports this week have claimed that Ferguson, who turns 69 on December 31, has told United's board that he will retire at the end of next season.
Mourinho, who is on the verge of taking Inter Milan to the Champions League final after Tuesday's 3-1 semi-final first leg win over Barcelona, is the bookmakers favourite to take over.
According to The Sun however, Ferguson believes that his fellow Scot Moyes, who is widely admired for his achievements at Everton on a tight budget, would be a better choice for United.
Ferguson has often said that he is fond of Mourinho and the Portuguese's phenomenal record in charge of FC Porto, Chelsea and now Inter undoubtedly makes him an extremely strong candidate for a job he may have been talking about when he spoke recently of his desire to return to England.
But United directors including Sir Bobby Charlton reportedly harbour reservations related to Mourinho's ability to generate controversy, which may bolster the chances of Moyes being asked to take over.
At 46, Moyes is a similar age to Ferguson when he took over at Old Trafford in 1986 and is cut from similar cloth. As a fellow Glaswegian, he also combines an apparently abrasive public persona with an ability to coax the best out of players drawn from a broad range of cultures and backgrounds.
Ferguson may be contemplating retirement, but he still has his eye on United's long-term future and the Scot believes he has a promising crop of young players in the club's title-winning reserve team.
Coached by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Warren Joyce, the United second string secured the trophy for the first time in four years after Liverpool lost to Everton on Tuesday evening.
Ferguson particularly highlighted the contribution of Northern Ireland Under-21 midfielders Oliver Norwood and Corry Evans.
"Some of the players have done very well," Ferguson said. "For example, in the 1-0 win against Liverpool, the back four were absolutely brilliant, they really did well.
"One or two younger players are developing quite well. Gabriel Obertan scored an unbelievable goal.
"Oliver Norwood and Corry Evans do really well and have a good attitude towards the game. That's an important thing and Ole and Warren have maintained that attitude right through the team."
Ferguson added: "I'd like to say congratulations to Ole and Warren. They've done a great job.
"Whenever we've appointed a new reserve team coach, I've always explained to them what a difficult job it is because it's subject to what I need.
"I may pull out three or four players from a training session or I might say, 'these players can't play for you on Thursday because they're on standby for me on Saturday'."