“Very, very honest” Michael van Gerwen has attracted praise from Wayne Mardle.

The world number one has already won five events in 2018. A Masters title, two UK Open qualifiers and two Players Championship wins have seen his Order of Merit lead extend. The Dutch ace now sits more than a million pounds ahead of world number two Peter Wright. Van Gerwen was stunned by Jeffrey de Zwaan at the UK Open. But Mardle, speaking before Mighty Mike’s Minehead exit, was full of superlatives.

Hawaii 501’s comments came after a frank interview with the two-time world champion.

“I’ve got a lot of time for Michael, but the one thing about him is that he’s very, very honest. There’s no mucking around with him,” he said.

“There’s some out there like Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock who practice religiously and they practice when they’re not kind of interested even when they might want a day off. But they find the graft within them to go and practice.

“Michael van Gerwen has said ‘no, I don’t need to because I play enough’ and I think that was very honest of him. Maybe that’s why he’s got that aggression all the time. Maybe because he’s not beating himself up on the practice board. Maybe because he’s not tired of the looking at the target, which you can become. He’s keeping himself fresh even when he plays a lot.

“You have to keep that aggression going”

Van Gerwen has missed three tournaments this year, all UK Open qualifiers. The Dutchman opted to return home after guaranteeing a Minehead place. But Mardle accentuated Mighty Mike’s endless desire to win.

“We know he’s a young man who has the darting world at his feet, but you still have to keep that aggression going and that want,” he stressed.

“When I said to him about playing in a lot of events and when you don’t do you hate seeing other people win? He said: ‘Yeah, how did he win that? He wouldn’t have won that if I was there’. So even when he’s not in it, he thinks he should win it. The man’s amazing.”

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Author: Edward McCosh