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By ESPN Staff

Schmeichel: Ex-United star will succeed Fergie

Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel believes Mark Hughes or Roy Keane must eventually succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.

Schmeichel believes the man who replaces Ferguson, 66, must be a former United player who has a strong bond with the club - such as Blackburn boss Hughes or Sunderland manager Keane.

'Who replaces Sir Alex is the big question,' he told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek.

'It would make sense to talk to Sir Alex and say 'we don't want you to retire but let's do a plan here and bring your successor in'.

'The successor could work with him for a year or even five years. That would bring continuity.

'I would think Mark Hughes or Roy Keane would be right. Paul Ince is doing well at MK Dons and it will be interesting to see what he's doing next year.

'United have reached a point where they are no longer a club but an institution.

'To have someone coming into that institution with totally different ideas will upset what's been going on.'

United are closing in on a Barclays Premier League and European double and Schmeichel believes the current team has more potential than his treble-winning class of 1999.

'This team can potentially achieve more than we did. Everything came together for us in 1999,' he said.

'You have to remember England missed five years of European football.

'We struggled to find a way to play in Europe and the Premiership. That took a long time.

'Now Sir Alex is focused on signing players who are better equipped tactically.

'Guys like Nani and Ronaldo, who all play in the Portuguese league where tactics are very important.'