TONY BLAIR’S all-time favourite Premier League defender has gone from chasing strikers to catching crooks – as he now solves crimes as a detective.
Ex-Wigan and Portsmouth star Arjan de Zeeuw, 43, has settled down in his native Netherlands as a police officer specialising in forensics.
The 52-year-old made over 500 appearances for five different English clubs across his career from 1995 to 2008.
And it was in 2005 that he earned a stunning tribute from the then-British Prime Minister.
Newcastle fan Blair went on football Focus to pick out three Prem players – England striker Teddy Sheringham, Fulham stylist Steed Malbranque… and De Zeeuw.
Blair lasted another two years as PM while the Dutchman carried on playing until 2009 – bowing out after a season playing for Dutch side ADO’20.
However, before starting his playing career, he completed a degree in medical science, which he is known putting to use in his investigative work.
In 2014, he told BBC Sport: “I was looking at something else other than football.
“I’ve been in football that long and I thought I just need to look at the world a bit more.
“So I tried to get back into my medical studies and I bumped into a friend of mine who was a detective in Alkmaar, where we are now.”
BETTING SPECIAL – BEST FOOTBALL BETTING SITES IN THE UK
On his decision to enter the police force, he added: “I liked the idea of justice and trying to make the world a better place for everybody, a fairer place.
“I’m going to specialise a bit more into forensics. More than likely it will be bigger investigations.”
He then recalled his training, including learning how to fire a gun and interrogate people.
Arjan continued: “It’s challenging. The good thing is it’s like football, it’s still very much a team effort.
“You’ll hardly ever solve a crime on your own.”
However, despite leaving the beautiful game behind as a career, he’s still joined up with the force’s team, who he generously described as “energetic”.
He joked: “You have to be careful for your legs with these.”
On top of that, he plays for the police’s national team, who qualified for the European final that year.
Discussing how his footie skills have kept up, he chuckled: “I’m lacking a bit of speed and a little bit of touch, but the competitive edge is still there.”
It’s possible he was just being modest though as he recalled how his training came in handy when chasing down a suspect, as he outlasted him for stamina and made the arrest.
He laughed: “I had enough pace to keep up.”