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Tottenham's van der Vaart gives some insight into gypsy upbringing

Tottenham recruit Rafael van der Vaart has given some insight into his unusual background.

The Dutchman has revealed that he grew up living and travelling around with his gypsy family up until the age of 10 when he was snapped up by Ajax's youth academy.

"That was the way my family lived. My father was born there and it is a lifestyle. Maybe it is not a normal lifestyle but I always liked it. I always played football on the street. It was an easy life," he said.

"Then I was 10 years old and went to Ajax and played there for almost 12 years. Then life starts to change.

"When I was playing in the first team for Ajax I bought a house for my parents. The lifestyle changed and now they are living in a normal house.

"It was the first time they lived in a house so it was strange. It was a lifestyle decision, it was better.

"For me it was really nice because it was a different lifestyle. Everyone was looking and saying 'isn't it strange to live there'. For me, it helped me because I was like a street fighter. You have to fight for your place."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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