Luke Littler celebrates victory over Raymond van Barneveld (not pictured). Alamy Stock Photo

16-year-old sensation only knows Pele 'off Fifa'

Luke Littler has taken Alexandra Palace by storm.

Updated at 12.54

TEENAGER LUKE Littler wants to continue ripping up the record books as he targets a place in the World Darts Championship semi-finals.

The 16-year-old has taken Alexandra Palace by storm and became the youngest player to reach the quarter-finals when he emphatically beat five-time world champion and his hero Raymond van Barneveld in the last 16 on Saturday.

That set up a winnable last-eight tie with Fermanagh’s Brendan Dolan on New Year’s Day and he is now dreaming of lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy on Wednesday.

If Littler was to win the title it would be one of the greatest sporting stories of all time and he would out-do several famous young achievers.

Pele was 17 when he won the World Cup with Brazil, Boris Becker was the same age as he claimed his first Wimbledon title while Mike Tyson became heavyweight world champion at 20.

Littler, nicknamed ‘The Nuke’, has not heard of all of those names, including that of 2021 US Open singles champion Emma Raducanu, who his story shares many parallels with, but he thinks there is more to come.

“Unbelievable, the names you have just said,” he said. “I know Mike, I only know Pele off Fifa and I don’t know the other ones.

“I have certainly broken the rules and records already but I know if my game is there I can beat even more records.

“My game is there, it is every darting kid’s, man’s, whoever’s dream to win it. I have certainly got the game, it is whatever happens on the day, whatever Luke Littler turns up.”

Littler’s run has already made him a recognisable name and he has enjoyed celebrity status after bursting onto the scene.

Littler and his family received complimentary tickets to watch Arsenal in the Premier League on Thursday night, with Gunners pair Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale asking him for a photo, while players from his beloved Manchester United sent him good luck messages before the match with Van Barneveld.

“It was unbelievable,” he added. “I was walking to my room and one of the security guards from Arsenal said to me Declan and Aaron wanted a picture with me and I just went ‘a picture with me’, and they came out for one.

“They said they have a dartboard up in the changing room. It is crazy for them to want a picture with me, it should be the other way around.

“It was incredible to get the messages, obviously United didn’t get the win (at Forest), but Jonny (Evans) and Gary (Neville) are United legends and Jonny is still playing for us, it was just incredible.”

Littler also appeared as a guest in James Maddison’s box at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon for Spurs’ clash with Bournemouth.

Dolan will be no pushover as he has beaten two former world champions in the last two rounds in Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson.

Rob Cross faces Chris Dobey in the opening match of 2024 while Michael van Gerwen should have too much for controversial Scott Williams and Luke Humphries takes on Dave Chisnall in the other quarter-final.

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel