MUM’S THE HOMEMAKER FOR VAN MAN
Wolves’ winger La Parra settles in
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.”
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.
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.”
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