"Important that all us players look after him and make sure no one takes advantage" - Luke Humphries keen to protect Luke Littler from those abusing his popularity

Thursday night, Luke Littler and Luke Humphries will face each other for the third time. As is tradition, the World Darts Championship finalists also play each other on the opening night of Premier League Darts.

Humphries won the World final, but in mid-January Littler took revenge by defeating his compatriot at the Bahrain Darts Masters. They were the first two encounters of possibly many more to come.

''I’m going to have to play Luke Littler for the next 20 years many times,'' Humphries told The Sun. ''It’s something that I’m going to be looking forward to. He might beat me in Cardiff, I might beat him. But I got the important one in my mind. I got the one I really wanted to win, the world title."

Normally, most of the attention goes to the new world champion, but in recent weeks it has been mostly teenage sensation Littler who has been in the spotlight. Fellow darter Gerwyn Price previously expressed a bit of pity for Humphries because his world title may not get the attention it normally would.

But Humphries by no means cares about the lack of attention. ''I think he’s deserved all the plaudits he gets because he’s achieved something that we’ll never see again. My dream wasn’t for everyone to go crazy about me. My dream was to be World Champion. Whether that comes with attention or it doesn’t, that doesn’t bother me. A lot of people think it bothers me but it doesn’t. I’ve achieved the dream. Whatever comes with that, whether it’s lots of media attention or whether there’s none, it doesn’t matter. I’ve achieved my dream and nothing will take that away from me."

What Humphries does want to guard against is people taking advantage of Littler's new status. "I think it’s important that all us players look after him and make sure no one takes advantage of him or tries to use him too much. That will happen in life, people want to use him because of his popularity and his stature. But all the players will look after him to make sure that none of that happens. He’s a great kid, he’s got a bright future.”

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