Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that he thinks Jose Mourinho has the qualities required to step into his hot seat as Manchester United manager. The Scot, 70, has been in charge at Old Trafford for 26 years and has yet to give any indication as to when he will retire, although Mourinho, currently boss at Real Madrid, has previously been suggested as a potential candidate. And Ferguson can see why.

“He can manage anywhere, absolutely,” Ferguson told an ITV4 documentary. “I'm not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at this club. I won't last forever, but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that.

"I would never think a guy who hasn't played a game could be a top coach but then you've got to look at his personality. He's got a marvelous, strong personality and that bridges that gap. I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea, in 2004] and I thought: 'Christ, he's a cocky b*****d, him.' He was telling the players: 'Look, I'm the special one, we don't lose games.'

"Bloody hell, coming to England, he is only a young man and saying he is the special one! But it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league."

Pep Guardiola, currently taking a yearlong sabbatical after leaving Barcelona last summer is also reportedly admired by Ferguson. The two former rivals in Spain are likely to be in the frame, especially if Ferguson were to walk away at the end of the season.

Mourinho, in his first season in Madrid, has been the subject of intense speculation over his future. On Monday Spanish publication Marca claimed that the Portuguese would leave the club next summer after his relationship with club president Florentino Perez had broken down.

While Mourinho dismissed the report he has often spoke of his desire to return to England, where he managed Chelsea between 2004 and 2007.

"In my career everything was perfect,” he told the same documentary. “The only thing I didn't, and I hope I can do it one day, is to win a Champions League with an English club. Nobody puts pressure on me because I put pressure on myself."