London - Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United would have tried to prise Sven-Goran Eriksson from his role as England manager had the Scot not reconsidered a decision to quit 12 years ago.
Ferguson had announced early in the 2001-02 season that he would be retiring the following summer.
And the 71-year-old said in his new book - Alex Ferguson, The Autobiography, released on Thursday - that United wanted Eriksson to leave his England job to take over.
"Sven-Goran Eriksson was to be the new United manager, I believe," Ferguson said. "That was my interpretation, anyway, though Maurice (Watkins, a then United director) never confirmed it.
"'Why Eriksson?' I asked him, later. 'You may be wrong, you may be right,' Maurice said'".
Eriksson had only taken over in charge of the England team in January 2001, but United believed they could persuade him to join them.
Ferguson said many rival managers, including former England manager Bobby Robson, had tried to convince him to stay on.
In the end, with the help of his family, who urged him to reconsider, Ferguson announced he would be staying on and lasted another 11 years in the job.