James Wade calls the Premier League a "a lonely and tiring place" as he offers warning to Luke Littler: "Really hope that it doesn’t come at the cost of burn-out"

For James Wade, the past World Darts Championship ended in a huge disappointment. 'The Machine' went out at the first hurdle, losing in his opening match against Matt Campbell.

Although Wade attempted to avoid the tournament afterwards, he cpukd not escape the hype. "You would have had to have been living on a desert island for a fortnight to have not got sucked up in Luke Littler fever, and like most people in the game my phone has been ringing off the hook with media outlets looking for comment, analysis, and insight into this astonishing story," Wade writes in his column for the Daily Star.

"The truth is that, for many people inside the game, this didn’t really come as a great surprise," Wade continued. "Luke Littler has been spoken about for several years on the circuit, with some stylish showings in the Modus Super Series (he won £20k in back-to-back events) and a demolition job of Gian van Veen on the big stage at the Grand Slam of Darts. Big things were expected but boy did he deliver!"

However, Wade also sees the dangers in this whole story. "The story has captured the imagination of the public and thrust the sport even more into the public eye, and record TV viewers and a clamour amongst sponsors can only be a good thing for everyone else involved with the game. However, people need to accept that Luke is 16 years old and things may not always go according to plan. We have seen this before when people like Josh Rock emerged only to get caught up in the fanfare and then take a few years to adjust."

Premier League Darts

Littler also received an invitation to the Premier League Darts this week. Wade however, has a word of warning to the teen sensation. "I can understand the PDC’s desire to put Luke into the Premier League (he is their most marketable asset at present) but that roadshow is a lonely and tiring place and I really hope that it doesn’t come at the cost of burn-out for the rest of his career. He deserves to be nurtured because it is a great story, and he could turn out to be a top, top player for a long time.‌"

"Believe it or not, back before Michael van Gerwen came on the scene, I was the youngest ever player to have won a TV major in darts. They say that the first is the hardest, but I thought it was the second – there is suddenly expectation, some haters, people wanting to beat you. It all must be dealt with in a way you never experienced as an outsider."

Finally, Wade also looks back on his own World Darts Championship performance. "I’ve enjoyed talking about Luke, so I didn’t have to talk about myself! I went into the tournament full of confidence after good results in the preceding months, had good preparation and felt good. I got on the stage, and it just didn’t happen for me – no excuses," he concludes.

"I tried to make it click but at crucial times and I couldn’t make things happen and Matt Campbell was good enough to punish me and make it through. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Matt for some of his pre-match comments."

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments