Wayne Mardle has sat down with Live Darts to cover a number of topics.

The former World Matchplay runner-up spoke about, among other things, the man who denied him the Winter Gardens title in 2003. Phil Taylor has set tongues wagging after hinting at a possible return to professional darts. Pundit and darting ambassador Mardle – recognised for his efforts by the Guardian’s Daniel Harris this week – reckons the sport’s greatest ever competitor won’t be having another crack of the whip.

“Phil Taylor making a comeback – I would like to see it.

“Will it happen? No,” deadpanned the 46-year-old.

“He does get excited about equipment. Tell you what, ask him next week.

“See how he feels then!”

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

The Smith dilemma

One player tipped to follow in Taylor’s footsteps one day is Michael Smith. So far, it hasn’t quite happened for the St Helens ace. Smith has lost in the World Championship, World Matchplay and Premier League final, all in the space of 18 months.

The psychological effects can only be speculated at. Mardle is hopeful that the secret to success will be unlocked after a slew of disappointments.

“Is there scar tissue? Quite possibly,” he said.

“He’s so instinctive as a player…I’d hate to see him become a robot.

“If he does start to slow down and think about it, he won’t be as good.

“Still, every time I look at a tournament, he’s a possible winner of it.”

Mardle has acted as mentor for many a player; he would appreciate the chance to get more insight into where Smith is mentally. Talent-wise, the former World Championship semi-finalist doesn’t see anything standing in his way.

“I would like to sit down and talk to him, to be fair.

“I’ve been in Michael Smith’s corner for years. I think he’s the one who can break down the standard barriers,” asserted Mardle.

“I’m not saying he’s the best player I’ve ever seen. If Michael van Gerwen is the benchmark, I think Michael Smith is the one to get there.

“A lot of [players] are very good, but Michael’s still the talent that will win. He will win.”

Chris Dean/PDC

Photo: Chris Dean/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh