Manchester United chief executive David Gill has revealed that Carlos Queiroz is 'very much in the frame' to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as manager at Old Trafford.
On Sunday, Ferguson confirmed that he will step down as United boss within the next three years.
And Gill has explained that assistant manager Queiroz, who first joined the club in 2002, could be in the running to succeed the highly successful Scot as the club look to reap the benefits of appointing from within.
"We haven't discussed that (Ferguson's exit)," Gill told BBC Radio Five Live. "I think his guiding principle over whether he stays is whether he is healthy and still has the desire, which I'm sure he will have.
"It's still three-and-a-half years away; we will look at it at that time."
Asked about planning for Ferguson's successor, Gill added: "We are making sure our squad is continually reviewed and improved as necessary and the age of the squad is right so that, when Alex does decide to retire, anyone taking over has a fantastic squad with the right age profile.
"We also have an assistant manager who will be very much in the frame in Carlos Queiroz.
"He's clearly a key part of our success. If you look at what Liverpool achieved in their very successful years during the '70s and '80s (that) was through internal appointments.
"Carlos is a key factor in all the success we've achieved over the last couple of seasons."