"He will take some stopping" - Rob Cross names Luke Littler as World Matchplay favourite despite nightmare first round draw

Next Saturday the 2024 World Matchplay gets underway from its historic and iconic home, the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. In the opening round, a clash between Luke Littler and Michael van Gerwen stands out as a real cracker.

Rob Cross, the 2019 World Matchplay winner and Littler's training partner, sees things working out for the 17-year-old sensation. "It was always going to be a test of Luke’s stamina with all the travelling this year," Cross says on The Nuke's brilliant start to life as a pro in quotes collected by The Sun. "We all know what he’s capable of on the dartboard. But it’s the travelling that kills you. Fatigue can be the biggest downfall of any player, no matter how talented you are."

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Despite the concerns however, Littler has passed every test to date with flying colours. "To be fair, Luke has handled everything thrown his way incredibly well. He’s coped with all the media attention and travelling so far," admits an impressed Cross. “He won the Premier League and five other titles when the calendar was very busy. Now he’s had a break for a few weeks and not played in the World Cup, he will take some stopping. He's even more dangerous now."

Rob Cross WMP19 Winner 7 5f450186476c8
Cross is looking for his second Matchplay title

Cross is therefore pushing his training partner forward as the top favourite for overall victory pre tournament. "Nothing seems to bother him. He’ll love playing in Blackpool, it’s local to him and I just see him turning up and dominating once again,” predicts the 2019 champ. "It’s a proper darts crowd at the Winter Gardens. It’s not as loud as the Worlds or Premier Leagues. I can see Luke stealing the headlines again."

However, Cross himself is also in Blackpool and is certainly not giving up in advance. 'Voltage' will take on Gian van Veen in his opening match. "It’s up to me and the other boys to stop him," he concludes. "Luke Humphries will want to win the Matchplay and Worlds in the same year, not many have done that. But it’s the second biggest tournament of the year. The likes of Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, Gary Anderson will all be fired up.”

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