The 22-year-old Uruguayan defender came on at half-time for Paddy McNair to play his first 45 minutes for Man United’s senior team and put in a pretty accomplished performance overall.
While there were some mistakes, Varela did well for somebody who was making his senior debut and that didn’t go unnoticed for van Gaal.
Speaking ahead of the game against Wolfsburg, van Gaal said: “It could have been Young but I’ve chosen Varela. He did very well against West Ham and I like that.”
Van Gaal on Guillermo Varela: "It could have been Young but I've chosen Varela. He did very well against West Ham and I like that." #mufc
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 8, 2015
There were plenty who questioned van Gaal’s decision to start Varela but I actually thought he put in a good performance on what was a very big occasion for somebody making their full Man United and UEFA Champions League debut.
With Matteo Darmian going off injured with what looked like a hamstring injury, Varela may well be getting lots more opportunities in the coming weeks.