Manchester United defender Guillermo Varela has revealed that he has been taken aback by the amount of support he has received from fans in recent weeks.

The Uruguayan right-back has become part of the first-team picture at Old Trafford this season, making his debut for the Reds against Wolfsburg in the Champions League in December.

And with Matteo Darmian sidelined with injury recently, the 22-year-old has taken his chance and put in some consistent performances at right-back, earning acclaim from United fans.

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In an interview with MUTV, Varela said that the scale of support he had received from fans on social media motivates him to do better on the pitch:

I can say that it’s only recently I realised how the love you get on social media has such an effect. I’m so popular with the fans but I also want to talk about the effect it has on me. It’s only when you realise the scale of it [that you can appreciate it], and I want to say thanks to all of those people who are supporting me, it helps to drive me forward and motivates me to produce my best on the pitch.

Varela also said that he was happy to get a run of games in the first-team recently, and needs to keep working hard on the training pitch if he is to keep his place in Louis van Gaal’s side:

Of course, I’m very happy with a run of four matches in the side and four victories as well. I feel enormous pride in being able to play for a club like Manchester United. I think the important thing is that we keep working, and I want to keep working to keep a regular place in the team so that, in time, I can reach 50, 100 or 200 games in the shirt.

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I don’t really [see myself as a first-team regular]. I think my main task is to keep working on a day-by-day basis to show the coach that I am a candidate for a regular first-team spot. I wouldn’t say I’m an automatic pick now, that would be a bit premature.