Published On: Thu, Dec 21st, 2023
Sports | By

Meet the ‘next Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor’ in Luke Littler the ‘darting freak’ | Other | Sport

Luke Littler is the “darting freak” lighting up the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace. The 16-year-old is the fourth-youngest player to compete at the World Darts Championship and registered the highest ever average by a debutant in the sport’s flagship event in a stunning victory over Christian Kist.

Littler recently won the Junior Darts Championship and is the sport’s most highly-rated young star. He has been compared to darts legends Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, and has been told he has an “innate ability” in the same form of Lionel Messi in football.

In his match against Kist, Littler recorded a blistering 3-0 win. He hit seven 180s and finished with a remarkable average of 106.12. While most darts stars celebrate their victories with an alcoholic beverage, Littler’s age meant that he had to settle for a kebab.

“I’ll probably just treat myself to a kebab, get myself some bottles of Coke or Fanta,” he said after defeating Kist.

Four-time World Championship semi-finalist Wayne Mardle has hailed Littler as a “darting freak” who is comparable with Michael van Gerwen. The Dutchman had a similar breakthrough in his early years and became a young champion of the tournament aged 25 in 2014.

“We often say that people are born with an innate ability. Some people don’t find theirs. Some people say Lionel Messi was born with a ball at his feet. But this (darts) really is Littler’s innate ability. From the age of 12, he’s been hitting 180s on a daily basis,” Mardle told Sky Sports.

“The impatience of him, he wants to win it now because he’s good enough to do it now. Whilst it seems silly, being 16 to him means absolutely nothing. He wants it now because he feels he’s good enough.

“Sometimes he’s good enough to win any event, I really believe that. For it to happen this week or next, I’m not saying that it can’t… yes I’m not saying it would be pushing the boat out. But to reach the last-16 or even the quarter-final, it would not be pushing the boat out.

“This kid is the nearest thing I’ve ever seen to Michael van Gerwen. It really is [a big comparison]. He’s a darting freak. He’s right up there with Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen. This kid is unbelievable. Yes, he has the odd ropey game like everyone does in the world, but he can do things that not many others can in the world of darts.”

Littler has won himself a fan in the form of two-time world champion Taylor. “I can see he’s dedicated. And I can also see he’s got that look in his eye that he wants to win, which is the two things that you definitely need,” the 63-year-old told GB News.

“Obviously, you’ve gotta be dedicated. And secondly, you’ve got to know in your mind that you can actually go and win the tournament. And I honestly believe he thinks that he can go and win the tournament and I totally agree with him.”

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