Incoming Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward will lead the search for a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scot announces his retirement at Old Trafford. The Telegraph says Woodward has been credited as being the driving force behind United's commercial expansion under the Glazers in his London-based role as executive vice-chairman.

But despite his responsibility for overseeing United's off-field operation from the club's commercial headquarters in Mayfair, Woodward revealed his involvement in the Ferguson succession plans last October when speaking of the strategy for identifying Old Trafford's next manager.

"We have a view as to what that process [appointing a new manager] will look like in terms of finding a replacement and what type of manager we want and how and when we'll go about it," Woodward said. "But it's in the drawer and long may it stay in the drawer."