Savage, a former United teammate of both Keane and Hughes, told the Sunderland Echo: "If they both keep performing as they are doing then I'm sure it's a straight race between the two for who eventually succeeds Sir Alex Ferguson.

"If Fergie decided to leave tomorrow and the fans had to poll to see who they'd like to take over, I'm sure Mark Hughes and Roy Keane would be the two leading candidates.

"If you look at each of their credentials, Mark would probably be the favourite because he's been a manager for longer but football is a funny game and things can change quickly."