"It has given us a kick up the backside" - Rise of Luke Littler has given top players motivation says Nathan Aspinall

Saturday the World Matchplay gets underway at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Luke Littler will hunt for his second consecutive PDC major there, after also winning the Premier League Darts earlier this year.

One who certainly won't let that happen is Nathan Aspinall, who won last year's World Matchplay and doesn't want to give up his title lightly. "I wouldn't say trying to impress, I think they just want to smash him. I think he is winning everything so we have to get to his level or it is just going to keep happening," he said.

"I think it has given us a kick up the backside, it was the same guys all the time and now Luke is winning the Premier League and everything. We are like, 'he's 17 mate, we need to put him back in his place'. I think that's what a lot of the players think.

"Or at least I know one of them that thinks of that. I think it has helped bring the standard up too."

nathan aspinall 1
Nathan Aspinall takes on Luke Woodhouse in the opening round of the World Matchplay

Title defense

Aspinall won last year's World Matchplay by beating Jonny Clayton 18-6 in the final. He is convinced that another title is a possibility and knows how to approach the tournament.

"It is about emotion, not getting too ahead of myself and not breaking it down too much. Just breaking the game down is what I do, you play best of 35 legs so I just give myself little targets.

"I need to be on my game, but I can't wait to get back on that stage with amazing memories from last year. I think to walk out as a defending champion with Mr Brightside blaring, it is going to be amazing."

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PDC Nathan Aspinall Luke Littler

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