Saturday, June 22, 2024

Luke Littler is making some players ‘very, very, very jealous’ – James Wade

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James Wade says some of the world’s top players are “very, very, very jealous” of Premier League champion Luke Littler’s popularity.

The 17-year-old has been handed a seat at the top table of darts after his stunning breakthrough at the World Championship over Christmas saw him transcend the sport.

His earning potential has sky rocketed by appearances on the Jonathan Ross Show and Comic Relief, presenting a Brit Award and guesting on popular podcasts.

He has backed it up at the oche, though, with a stunning start to life on the PDC Tour and won his first major title on Thursday night as he lifted the Premier League crown at London’s O2 Arena.

Michael Smith recently suggested it was the lower-ranked players who were getting irked at the teenager’s opportunities, but Wade thinks it is those nearer the summit of the game who are struggling with Littler’s presence.

“I would say it’s the higher-ranked players. They’re having their noses put out of joint because it’s not about them,” Wade, who is an ambassador of Bipolar UK, told the PA news agency.

“It doesn’t matter what any of those other players do at the moment, it’s not about them.

“I know what most of them are like, for me it’s never been about being known. It’s never been about being recognised.

James Wade, an ambassador for Bipolar UK, says the world’s top players are irked by Littler’s presence (Aaron Chown/PA)

“For some of them it is about that. They’ll be affected. It’s affecting those higher-ranked players that are out there around the top.

“Because they’re not getting the press they would normally get. And they’re not getting the recognition.

“I’m not going to name names, but there’ll be some out there very, very, very jealous and seething inside.

“And it’s quite funny to stand back and watch from a distance.”

Wade, who was beaten by Littler in the UK Open in March, believes he is brilliant for the game.

“I’m not knocking him because he’s a lovely lad and he’s doing really, really well,” he said.

“But it just shows sometimes that with the weight of social media and the press they can make and break people, and they can fast-track players and they can also make players money that other players have never earned.

“And that’s exactly what Luke Littler is getting at the moment. He’s earning money that no other player has ever earned for the space of time he’s been around.

“He’s got more attention than anyone I’ve ever seen. And it’s brilliant.

“It’s absolutely brilliant and fair play as a young lad with a lot of pressure on his shoulders, because I say all of this, and he’s not won much yet.

“And he’s got more attention than I’ve ever seen Michael van Gerwen or Phil Taylor get.”

:: Bipolar UK offers support to anyone affected by bipolar with their free UK-wide services – peer support line, peer support groups and eCommunity – and resources, including their Could it be bipolar? information and Mood Tracker app.

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