MUM’S THE HOME­MAKER FOR VAN MAN

Wolves’ winger La Parra set­tles in

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

DUTCH young­ster Ra­jiv van La Parra reck­ons he’s des­tined to suc­ceed at Wolves – thanks to his mother.

The 23-year-old winger has been a hit at Mo­lineux since his sum­mer move from Heeren­veen with eye-catch­ing dis­plays in the open­ing five games of the sea­son.

Newly-pro­moted Wolves cur­rently sit third and it’s easy to for­get that the for­mer Hol­land U21 in­ter­na­tional is also adapt­ing to life in new sur­round­ings.

The Black Coun­try, though, ap­pears a home from home for van La Parra – who honed his tal­ents at Feyeno­ord’s famed academy with World Cup stars Bruno Martins Indi and Ste­fan de Vrij.

But van La Parra says he was never wor­ried about how he would ac­cli­ma­tise on the field – it was offfield mat­ters the mummy’s boy needed as­sis­tance with.

“I’ve set­tled in re­ally well, ev­ery­one at the club has helped me set­tle, but my mother has helped me with ev­ery­thing,” he said.

“She sorted ev­ery­thing; she helped me with the house where I am liv­ing and the other stuff .

“All I need to fo­cus on is the foot­ball and that has al­lowed me to con­cen­trate on play­ing well.”

Dif­fi­cult

Van La Parra knows all too well how badly a move abroad can go – he was just 17 when he de­cided to join Caen in France.

Two ap­pear­ances and rel­e­ga­tion in his first sea­son were a sign of things to come, and even with his mother be­side him the Rot­ter­damborn flyer ad­mits things just did not work out.

“I moved to France at 17 with my mother and we lived to­gether,” he said. “It was a dif­fi­cult pe­riod for me, I was very young and didn’t speak the lan­guage.

“It was a very hard time for me, but it was an ex­pe­ri­ence I learnt from and it made the move to Wolves much eas­ier for me – only my mis­sus is with me this time, not my mother!

“I did have a lot of prob­lems with the lan­guage, I was so young – maybe too young to be go­ing to a new coun­try like France. I had no chance of get­ting in the first team.

“I wanted to go back to ba­sics from there and play some games, de­velop my­self and get ready for a move to another coun­try again, like Eng­land, so it was good to go back to Hol­land and Heeren­veen.

“I al­ways wanted to go to Eng­land. In Hol­land you have English lessons at school – even in the cin­ema the films are in English with Dutch sub­ti­tles!”

If van La Parra’s own ca­reer is to read like a movie script, pro­mo­tion to the Premier League would be his fairy­tale end­ing this sea­son.

In his teenage years, van La Parra would watch Dutch hero Den­nis Bergkamp strut his stuff for Arse­nal, de­spite hav­ing a soft spot for Manch­ester United.

Ob­ses­sion

It’s an ob­ses­sion that never re­ally waned, and he’s de­ter­mined to make his dream come true.

“When I was young I have to say I was a big Manch­ester United fan, I al­ways watched them on tele­vi­sion,” he says.

“English foot­ball is spe­cial be­cause ev­ery­one loves the game. The pas­sion was some­thing I heard about while back home, and it’s some­thing I was look­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I want to go to the Premier League with Wolves, that’s my am­bi­tion. I’ve made a good start, but I have to keep mov­ing for­ward.

“The Feyeno­ord academy was re­ally good for me. I spent nine years there and learnt a lot.

“They have good train­ers at the club, they helped me a great deal, as they did for a lot of other play­ers.

“Play­ers like Ste­fan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi were in the academy with me. They reached the first team but the skills and lessons you learn help even if you don’t.

“They al­low you to play your own game, that’s how I like it and hope­fully Wolves can see the ben­e­fits of that.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

PARRA TROOPER: Ra­jiv van La Parra in Cham­pi­onship ac­tion for Wolves. In­set: his for­mer Feyeno­ord youth pals Bruno Martins Indi and Ste­fan de Vrij with their third place medals at the World Cup

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