O'Neill rules out succeeding Fergie

Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill has ruled out taking over as manager of today’s Carling Cup opponents, Manchester United, when Alex Ferguson retires.

Jose Mourinho is currently favourite to replace the 68-year-old Scot when he stands down at Old Trafford – but many believe O’Neill would be a good choice for United.

However, O’Neill said the idea of taking over as manager of the Barclays Premier League champions has never entered his mind.

He said: “I’ve never thought about that at all, not for one second, not even way back when I was at Celtic.

“I think Sir Alex will decide, and I would think in about the year 2033 when he thinks to himself, ’yeah, I think that Champions League has gone past me for the final time’, then I will have departed this earth long before him – because I’ve got a lot more worries.

“It’s never really bothered me. And of course there’s always somebody coming up, somebody whose name is relevant at the time.”

O’Neill, 58 tomorrow, believes whoever replaces Ferguson faces a tough job.

He added: “For anybody it would be absolutely an impossible job to succeed him. What can you do? Win the Premier League 10 times? You’d still be just starting out against him.

“I know Brian Clough went to Leeds and said he could win it better but he only lasted 44 days and to be honest it wasn’t his most inspiring moment.”

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