Rajiv van La Parra: The Indian connection to new Premier League club Huddersfield Town

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29:  Rajiv van La Parra of Huddersfield Town celebrates promotion to the Premier League after the Sky Bet Championship play off final between Huddersfield and Reading at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Rajiv van La Parra, Huddersfield Town's Flying Dutchman
Abhijit Bharali

What's the story?

As David Wagner's Huddersfield Town created history yesterday by sealing their promotion into next season's Premier League, their tricky winger Rajiv van La Parra ensured there remains an Indian connection to the Premier League's newest entrants.

Van La Parra's first name of Rajiv is a tribute to former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated a month before the Terriers' wide man was born. Gandhi was assassinated on 21st May 1991, 14 days before Van La Parra was born.

The context

Huddersfield beat Reading in the Championship Play-Off final on penalties yesterday to become the third and final team to get promoted to English football's top flight. They follow Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion into the promised land of English football.

Van La Parra played the full 120 minutes of the Play-Off final but didn't take a penalty in the shootout that followed. The Terriers won 4-3 with the centre-back, Christopher Schindler, scoring the final, clinching spot kick.

The heart of the matter

Van La Parra started 36 matches for Huddersfield in the 2016-17 season, scoring two goals. His dribble rate of 6.6 per 90 minutes made him one of the take-on kings of the Championship this season, and he will now rub shoulders with his half-brother in the Premier League next season.

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum is one of Van La Parra's half brothers, and judging by the Dutch international's impact at Anfield, it would be no surprise should the Terriers' winger take to the Premier League like a duck to water. Another half-brother of Van La Parra's, Giliano Wijnaldum, plays for Philadelphia Union, while two of his cousins, Royston Drenthe and Giovanni Drenthe, are also footballers. Royston has even played for Real Madrid in the past.

What's next?

It remains to be seen whether Huddersfield can retain Van La Parra's services next season. The Kirklees Stadium will witness Premier League football next season, and it would fancy Van La Parra to be part of the club when the 2017-18 campaign kicks off in August.

Author's take

It seems a long wait until India can have one of its players at a Premier League club, but Van La Parra's ascension to the top flight with Huddersfield is a reason to cheer for the world's second most populous country. While Rajiv Gandhi is widely commemorated in India โ€“ I-League champions Aizawl FC's home ground is christened the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, for example โ€“ a Premier League player named after the former Indian Prime Minister is a novelty.

Edited by Staff Editor


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