willem korsten - fact file

1999 - 2001            midfielder


FULL NAME :  Willem

Born on 21st January 1979 in Boxtel, near Tilburg, Holland.

Height : -   1.91m  ( ' ")

Weight : -  82 kgs  ( st lbs)

A player who shone briefly for Spurs had his career prematurely ended by a hip injury, just as it looked like he might have made a break-through at the club.

Starting his football career at NEC Nijmegen, Willem then moved to Vitesse Arnhem, where he did well enough to catch the eye of Leeds United.  A tall man, his strength on the wing was his pace and upper body strength, but he did have a trick or two to use to get past his marker. 

The forward who was on loan at Leeds United last season signed for Tottenham in the close season of 1999, causing a furore in the process. His failure to sign permanently for the Yorkshire side and his subsequent transfer to Spurs has left some bad feeling in the Northern club's camp. 

Formerly of Vitesse Arnhem, the player who can play midfield, on the wing or up front, had featured well in the Premiership. His play had shown speed and a good finish, with many attributes which will serve him well in England. Although he had a poor game when he appeared as a substitute at White Hart Lane for Leeds in the FA Cup replay last season, he had done enough to convince George Graham that he would be a valuable addition to the squad, costing around 1.5 million. Some mystery surrounded where he would play as he was featured out of his natural left-wing position.  However, he had the ability to fill several roles which should have made it easy for him to slot in as and when necessary, providing options for the management and his quality was undoubted, as he had played in a Holland Under-21 side with the likes of Kluivert, Seedorf and van Bronkhorst.

After many months of frustrating injury, he finally made his league debut for Spurs by coming on as a substitute in the defeat by Sheffield Wednesday (22.1.2000).  He has struggled to pick up the pace of the games he featured in and appeared lethargic.  It may have been as a result of the hip injury he was carrying and he underwent surgery on it during the close season.

In 2000-2001, Willem had the chance to get a few first team games and showed fleeting glimpses of what he could do, but he faded from the game sometimes.  In the reserves, he became a prolific scorer with two hat-tricks and some spectacular goals.  It was hoped that he could transfer that form to the first XI and he came into the lime-light at the end of the 2000-2001 season with three goals; one away at Sunderland and two on the final match of the season at home to Manchester United.  His brace against the champions (one a delicate volleyed lob over the keeper and the other a powerful low drive with little back-lift) showed he had good finishing skills, but needed to get more involved in the game to make a significant impact.

Unfortunately, this was to be his last appearance in a Spurs shirt, as doctors told him that his persistent hip injury would result in him being unable to walk should he continue playing.  His retirement in October 2001 was a shame in one so young (aged 26) and especially as he was just looking to show his true potential in a Spurs shirt.

Willem returned to his former club NEC as a coach at their academy, subsequently carving out a career as a TV football commentator back in his homeland, while playing amateur football for Achilles '29.


NICKNAME :  "The Invisible Man"

Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Geen (Holland) ?? ?? ??  23 4
NEC Nijmegen (Holland) 1992 ?? ??  23 4
Vitesse Arnhem (Holland) 1993 ?? ??  75 12
Leeds United (loan) January - March 1999 ?? 16th January 1999 v Middlesbrough 10 2
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR May 1999 1,500,000 22nd January 2000  v Sheffield Wednesday (Premier League) (home) Lost 0-1 15 + 12 as a sub 3

Career Record
NEC Nijmegen (Holland)
- League appearances; goals
- DutchCup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals
Vitesse Arnhem (Holland)
75 League appearances; 12 goals
- Dutch Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals
Leeds United (loan)

7 League appearances; 2 goals
3 FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 Other appearances; 0 goals
11 + 12 as a sub League appearances; 3 goals
0 + 3 as a sub FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
1 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 European appearances; 0 goals
0 Other appearances; 0 goals

Holland international
0 full caps;  0 goals
?? Under-21 caps; ?? goals
KNVB Amateur Cup winners medal 2010-2011 (Achilles '29)

- appearance



What they said about Willem Korsten
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What Willem Korsten said about ...
... his hip operation ...  19.08.2000 (THFC programme)

"Thankfully it wasn't as bad as we first feared.  I've been told to do nothing for three or four weeks and to see how it has progressed then.  I feel devastated. It is the worst start possible for me and I just want to get over it as soon as I can."

... his injuries at Spurs ...  04.11.2000 (THFC programme)

"My two injuries have been very frustrating, especially last year.  It was my first season at Tottenham and I had the worst start you could imagine.  I wanted to show what I could do and so did the club.  I was obviously hoping for better this season, but the hip injury set me back again.

I've been a bit unfortunate with another injury this season, but after a month and a half of training, good treatment and a solid run of games in the reserves, I am feeling really good.  It's great to feel fit and I want to stay fit now.  They say that in a career of 12 or 13 years, players tend to have a spell of around four years where they are hit by injuries, so hopefully I have already had mine and the rest of my career will be injury free.

Last year ... I needed an operation to remove a piece of floating bone (in the ankle) and I was out until November.  I couldn't believe it when I started to feel a problem with my hip in pre-season this year.  I needed another operation to take away a piece of bone that had come away."

... his best position ...  04.11.2000 (THFC programme)

"My best position is playing just behind the forwards.  Playing "in the hole" is definitely my favourite role."

... how the game in England compares to Holland ...  04.11.2000 (THFC programme)

"The tempo of the game and the atmosphere are the two main differences.  The Premiership is much more competitive than in Holland.  Here the action lasts for 90 minutes, but back home you might get 25 minutes of action, the rest is just passing without getting anywhere.  The top three or four sides are always the same in Holland, as they are here, but outside of those teams, the rest of the league is not very good.  In England though, you know you are going to have a tough game regardless of who you play.  That' s what I like about the game here."

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