July 19, 2024

World Darts Championship: Raymond van Barneveld wants to face teenage star Luke Littler | Darts News

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Raz Mirza

Interviews, Comment & Analysis @RazMirza

Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld admits Luke Littler can win the title on debut at the age of 16; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Wednesday 27 at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 23/12/23 5:56pm

Raymond van Barneveld has been massively impressed by Luke Littler at the World Darts Championship

Raymond van Barneveld has been massively impressed by Luke Littler at the World Darts Championship

Raymond van Barneveld says Luke Littler can win the World Darts Championship, but the Dutch legend has warned the 16-year-old he’s the real troublemaker.

Littler, a winner of five Development Tour titles in 2023, will face Canada’s Matt Campbell for a place in the last 16 after a couple of stunning debut performances to defeat former Lakeside champion Christian Kist and UK Open Champion Andrew Gilding.

The 16-year-old smashed the record-average for a debutant on the Alexandra Palace stage, averaging an astonishing 106.12 to dispatch Dutchman Kist and having also won last month’s World Youth Championship in Minehead, the history-maker has been made one of the favourites to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy on January 3.

Littler says he has a good chance of winning the World Championship if he  continues to play his A-game

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Littler says he has a good chance of winning the World Championship if he continues to play his A-game

Littler says he has a good chance of winning the World Championship if he continues to play his A-game

Raymond van Barneveld entered Ally Pally to his iconic 'Eye of the Tiger' song

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Raymond van Barneveld entered Ally Pally to his iconic ‘Eye of the Tiger’ song

Raymond van Barneveld entered Ally Pally to his iconic ‘Eye of the Tiger’ song

Van Barneveld averaged 99.81 and pinned 11 of his 20 darts at double to defeat Polish debutant Radek Szaganski 3-1 in his opener and now the five-time world champion is feeling the pressure to advance past Welshman Jim Williams in his next match, which could propel him towards a clash with Littler.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me [to progress] because Peter Wright lost and James Wade lost so the section has opened up but I have a couple of days off and then I have to focus on Jim Williams,” said Van Barneveld – who won his last world title in 2007.

“There’s a 16-year-old kid who is playing awesome darts and when I watch darts I want to watch a guy like him. I like fast, fluent and finishing. His celebrations are something and he’s a character.

“He’s the World Youth Champion so I have great respect and doing it on the big stage; he didn’t give Christian Kist a chance and then UK Open champion Andrew Gilding, so all the respect.”

Teenager Littler defeated Andrew Gilding 3-1 to reach the third round

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Teenager Littler defeated Andrew Gilding 3-1 to reach the third round

Teenager Littler defeated Andrew Gilding 3-1 to reach the third round

The 56-year-old watched Littler’s debut with amazement and he’s excited at the prospect of facing the back-to-back JDC world champion.

“I’m very impressed, but I love darts. I don’t want to watch matches where players are slow. I love 180s and 140s – this is what the game is all about,” he said.

“Littler is quality. He looks like a really young Michael van Gerwen but it’s too early to say I’m going to play him down the road but I hope we do play each other.”

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

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Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Former World Champion Rob Cross says that Littler had no fear after his first round victory against Kist

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Former World Champion Rob Cross says that Littler had no fear after his first round victory against Kist

Former World Champion Rob Cross says that Littler had no fear after his first round victory against Kist

Van Barneveld admits Littler has all the ability in the world to win the Worlds, comparing his performances to a young tennis prodigy, Boris Becker in 1985.

“Luke can win the World Championship, why not? We all saw Boris Becker win Wimbledon at the age of 17.

“He’s got fantastic equipment with good people around him, but I’m still there. I’m a troublemaker! If I can play a really good game, I’m tough to beat and I believe in myself again. The last two, three years I feel better than ever.”

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months





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