Darts chiefs prepared to take Luke Littler action amid burnout fears - 'Duty of care'

Darts chiefs prepared to take Luke Littler action amid burnout fears - 'Duty of care'

WATCH NOW: Luke Littler confident of glory in the future

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 11/01/2024

- 11:43

The 16-year-old recently impressed as he made the final of the World Darts Championship

PDC chief Matt Porter says they have a 'duty of care' to look out for Luke Littler as he looks to continue his stunning form - while also revealing they're ready to step in if they fear he's playing too much.

The 16-year-old recently made the final of the World Darts Championship, seeing off the likes of Rob Cross and Raymond van Barneveld before being beaten by Luke Humphries in the final.

Littler has now been included in the upcoming Premier League and World Series as a result of his fine displays at Ally Pally.

And Porter, speaking on the Are You Not Entertained podcast, says they have a 'duty of care' to Littler and are ready to reduce his schedule in order to avoid the youngster being burned out.

Darts Luke Littler

Darts chiefs are ready to reduce Luke Littler's schedule if they feel he's playing too much


"With Luke we’ve got a huge duty of care and it’s a huge responsibility for us," he said.

"He’s 17 in mid-January and we’ve not committed him to anything beyond the end of May this year because we want to see how the first few months go with the challenges that are going to be on him.

"We’re fortunate that he’s got a good manager who manages a couple of other top players as well so he knows how the industry works, and a solid family unit who are very trusting and respect his maturity even though he is still a teenager.

"Luke’s shown over the last couple of weeks how unflappable he is in the conditions he was put into.

"He’s already become a professional player before the World Championship, so you have to ask yourself, is it right to hold him back?

"Is it appropriate to deny him the opportunity to earn the hundreds of thousands of pounds that he will earn over the next few months?

"Because in a few weeks times he could be married, driving a car, getting a mortgage, he could be the same as the rest of us.

"It just happens that he could be achieving something towards his peak very early.

"We have to manage that, we’ve got welfare support, psychological support, he’s going to work with a nutritionist, all the right things that make sure he progresses in the right way.

"But if is does become a little bit too much for him then we will pull him back a bit and give him time to breathe and time to himself."

Porter also thinks Littler isn't guaranteed to continue his stunning rise to superstardom.

Michael van Gerwen took a while to get going after initially bursting onto the scene.

And Porter warned Littler by adding: "Michael van Gerwen came through as a 17-year-old, he was destroying top players when he was 17 and then had a number of very lean years before he progressed to the top level of the game.

"So we’ve got to make sure that Luke’s progression is managed and done at the right pace."

Meanwhile, snooker icon Ronnie O'Sullivan has also opened up on Littler.


Luke Littler

Luke Littler has enjoyed a stunning rise to prominence as a result of his displays at the recent World Championship


And he's advised the youngster to get a mentor like Sir Alex Ferguson around him to ensure he remains grounded.

The 48-year-old has had his demons during his own time in sport.

And O'Sullivan, reflecting on his victory in the UK Championship at the age of 17, has told Sky Sports: "I think if I had my time again, I'd probably take the [Stephen] Hendry route and just be always around an Alex Ferguson-type figure.

Luke Humphries

Luke Littler was unable to beat Luke Humphries in the final of the recent World Darts Championship


"I'd definitely choose to do things differently.

"So, [I'd say to Littler] just keep your feet on the ground if you can and just keep good people around."

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