Luke Littler is a household name after his exploits at the World Darts Championship (Picture: GMB)
Luke Littler’s World Darts Championship dream ultimately ended in disappointment last night, following his defeat to Luke Humphries, but the teenage sensation will no doubt console himself with his newfound fame and fortune.
The 16-year-old has become a household name over the course of history making run to the final, during which he beat former champions Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross.
Littler, who had a shot at double two to take a 5-2 lead in the final, was magnanimous in defeat, praising the competitive spirit of new world No.1 Luke Humphries, who reeled off five consecutive sets to claim the £500,000 prize.
Attention will now turn to where an when Littler will return to the oche, and although his next step is unconfirmed, it appear increasingly likely he will partake in the Premier League Darts series.
The PDC are set to confirm the identity of the eight participants later on Thursday, and the almost unanimous feeling across the sport suggests the competition would benefit from Littler’s presence.
‘I’m not just saying this because it will please everyone, but Luke [Littler] has been an unbelievable talent,’ Humphries told Sky Sports.
‘Not just about the dartboard, he has been fantastic with all the media that has come about with him and he took the defeat so well. You will never see another down-to-earth 16-year-old kid like him who is just something else.
‘I really hope he’s in the Premier League because, if he don’t want to play in it fair enough, but I think he’d be a pleasure to play alongside this year. He’s one of the best players in the world, there is no doubt about that.
‘In the back of my mind throughout today I was thinking ‘get this one now because he [Littler] is going to dominate world darts soon!’ I had to win this one tonight and he’s going to win plenty I’m sure.’
The PDC blocked questions about Littler’s potential involvement in the flagship competition, with chief executive Matt Porter revealing conversations with the teenager’s family were taking place.
He told Sky Sports News: ‘There’s all sorts of things to consider for Luke going forward and it has to be at the right place for him and his development.
Luke Littler’s family and girlfriend have been by his side throughout his run at the world championships (Picture: Shuttershock)
Luke Littler collected £200,000 in prize money at the World Darts Championship (Picture: GMB)
‘In the same vein, you have to be careful not to hold somebody back if they’re ready. We’re talking to his management, we’re talking to his parents, and we’ll make sure we do what’s right for Luke.’
Sky Sports pundit and former World Championship semi-finalist Wayne Mardle, meanwhile, argued Littler’s inclusion was a ‘no-brainer.’
He said: ‘I’ve been in the Premier League a couple of times and you get a gauge and a guide of who should be in and who shouldn’t. First off, are you good enough? The answer with Luke Littler is yes.
‘What does he bring to the table? Does he bring viewers? Does he put bums on seats? Will there be any kind of media around him that can grow the game? Yeah, it’s an absolute no-brainer. For me? Yeah, he’ll take to it like a duck to water.’
‘I don’t know how they can ignore him,’ added fellow former pro Mark Webster. ‘The score lines, the stats, the averages – he has just dispatched the players throughout every round.
‘He’s a special talent and whilst he’s playing like this, he would be a great addition to the Premier League. The coverage he brings with him as well and he’s a young player, so he’s got a big appetite.
‘The Premier League’s designed for Luke Littler and I’m pretty certain he’ll be in it.’
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The 16-year-old came agonisingly close to making more history at the World Darts Championship