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Willem's screen test

Posted on 8 March 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Willem Korsten made a swift return to Spurs Lodge last week but, you could say, he was playing in a new position.

Most footballers are used to being the subject of television interviews - Willem has now undergone a role-reversal and is the one asking the questions.

"I'm back at Spurs for a day," beamed the Dutchman who was forced to retire this season due to a hip problem. "I am working for Dutch television now and I'm doing an item on Tottenham players."

Something of a Dutch Gary Lineker then?

"I don't know about that, but it's nice because I'm back at Spurs doing what I like - being involved with football. Not on the pitch, but off, and we'll see what happens.

"I'm doing this once or twice a month and maybe it will be more in the future."

Willem now works for the Dutch channel RTL 5, which specialises in Premiership football. Part of Willem's duties is to travel around and talk to Dutch players and former team-mates performing overseas.

Switching professions can often be a tricky business, but Willem says the critics have been quite kind so far.

"I'm still on the air so it must be okay, I've had some good reviews. It's nice, like I say, that I can go back to clubs that have got Dutch players because it's easier for me to get access maybe than a journalist. Not all players are interested in talking to journalists, with ex-players it's easier.

"It's nice to be back at football clubs talking to players about what I like best, which is football."

So it's Willem the roving reporter enjoying something of a free role...

"That's the way it is now, going to clubs in the Premiership. The channel I'm working for is Premiership-orientated and I see how Dutch and English players are doing in the league.

"I've been to Juventus to talk with Davids, I'm going to Arsenal to talk with Sol and van Bronkhorst. So things are good."

Asked how he is adapting to real life without the drug of football, Willem says he has taken to kicking about with his son as a form of compensation.

"I've always had a real life! It's different because it's something entirely opposite.

"The thing is, you're never going to get over that, you're never going to cope with the fact that you can't play anymore because that's one thing you always wanted to do.

"I find myself playing in the garden with my son now, even tackling! - maybe not that far. Because I can't leave it. It's a bit strange, but that's life."

One positive to emerge for Willem is that he is settled back in his homeland again with his family.

"It's nice to be back with all the family again, the last three years have been very hectic. It's quiet now, which is good for a change."

The joke going round Spurs Lodge is that we see more of Willem now than when he was playing.

"Exactly! The thing is it is quite easy for me to come to Spurs and talk to players. I think because I'm just starting it's good for me to come here instead of a strange club.

"Hopefully there is more to come and hopefully I will come back to Spurs often because that will mean they're doing quite well."

By Richard Hubbard