Guillermo Varela
Varela has been key in United's recent resurgence.Getty Images

Manchester United defender Guillermo Varela has confirmed he asked to leave the club in the January transfer window before becoming a regular in the first team. The Uruguay youth international made his debut for the club in December amid an injury crisis at Old Trafford and since has become a key member of the club's resurgence.

Varela has started the club's last four games, all of which have been won against Shrewsbury Town, FC Midtjylland, Arsenal and Watford which has reignited their campaign. Van Gaal's side are now level on points with fourth place Manchester City in the Premier League and into the last 16 of the Europa League.

Varela was the first player signed by David Moyes in the summer of 2013 but had to wait two-and-a-half years for his first appearance. And the 22-year-old says it could have been completely different had Van Gaal sanctioned his move away from the club.

"First I wanted to leave, but Louis van Gaal asked me to stay," he told Tirando Paredes, according to the Manchester Evening News. "He gave me the opportunity and luckily I've played for many matches in a row."

Injuries to the likes of Antonio Valencia and Phil Jones have allowed Varela the opportunity to nail down a place in the United first team. In the four games since Varela began his latest run in the team the club have conceded just three goals but the youngster does not believe he first choice yet.

"I don't really," he told the United official website. "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."

"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."