Fergie: Keane's irreplaceable
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The 32-year-old is coming to the end of his playing days, but has been showing some vintage form this term.
Ferguson knows that he will soon have to do without his influential skipper, but still hopes to get a few more years out of the former Nottingham Forest man before he hangs up his boots - as he will be so hard to replace.
"I won't find a replica of Keane, that's not possible," said Ferguson.
"I hope I can get another three years out of him. It's possible that he could manage that.
"But the most important thing is for the midfield players at the club to establish themselves in their own right.
"You can't find a replica, but you would want someone who can influence the team the way he does."
Ferguson says that there are several players that could grow to fill Keane's boots, and the current form of Phil Neville has pleased the wily Scotsman.
"We currently have players in midfield who can develop and get better," he added. "That is part of my thinking at the moment.
"Kleberson and Eric Djemba-Djemba are young enough to improve while Darren Fletcher will be an excellent footballer.
"And the performances of Phil Neville have changed the boy's whole career."