The Uruguayan defender spent last season on loan at Real Madrid’s Castilla B side where he played under Zinedine Zidane and he made a good impression of himself prior to returning to Man United.
Injuries to Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young opened up a door for Varela which he’s taken full advantage of and he feels that he’s now fully adapted to the rigours of the Premier League.
“The first year was really a period where I was settling in,” he told ManUtd.com.
“In the second year, I went out on loan [to Castilla] and now I’m back at the club again and the manager has been giving me the chance to show what I can do, so I’m very pleased to be getting this opportunity.
“Right now, I can say that I have adapted 100 per cent to the English game. I’m used to the pace and physicality just now. I think I’ve learned about everything! But I’ve really developed and learned about the physical aspect of my game.
“The football here is very physical in comparison to Uruguay or other parts of the world, where the emphasis is more on technique and tactics. But here you have to battle harder and have more strength when you’re playing and that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned.”
The most interesting part of Varela’s interview with ManUtd.com is the fact he wants to have a long career at Old Trafford.
He added: “It gave me a kind of inner calm to say that I could compete at the level of the Champions League. Then, I knew I can be here and I can play. After being in the squad a few times and then featuring in a number of games, you start to feel that you are capable of turning out in the starting XI and performing at the level the team requires. But, of course, I need to keep working hard, I can’t start believing that I’ve arrived because that’s clearly not the case.
“It’s all about continuing to work hard and trying to win the confidence of the coach. Firstly, I love being at Manchester United and I’d love to enjoy a long career here and win everything that comes in our path. Then, looking ahead, [playing for] the [Uruguayan] national team of course!”
In his performances this season, Varela has shown he’s got a very composed head on his shoulders. The full-back position is arguably the hardest in which to stay fully disciplined because you have to do so much running up and down the flank but Varela has done extremely well so far this season.
He’s continued those levels of performances with the U21s and will be biting at Darmian’s heels all year now, trying to get ahead of him in the pecking order. If both Darmian and Varela stay fit this year, United look strong in the right-back department but a current injury may force Varela to spend a couple of weeks on the sidelines.
There have been plenty of breakthroughs at United over the last couple of years from youngsters who have been given chances by van Gaal and Varela’s rise this season has certainly been one of the more promising ones.