Luke Littler shares what ‘true gentleman’ Raymond van Barneveld said after win

Luke Littler shares what 'true gentleman' Raymond van Barneveld said after win

Luke Littler has revealed that Raymond van Barneveld told him that he is capable of winning the World Championship following their match on Saturday night. The 16-year-old cruised to victory over his boyhood hero, winning 4-1 to book his spot in the quarter-finals.

Despite being under immense pressure to produce results after his incredible breakthrough, Littler showed no signs of breaking up against his boyhood hero – who won his first World Championship before he was even born.

After taking the opening set 3-1 and charging into a two set lead by the same scoreline, Littler oozed confidence as he strolled off the stage – leaving Van Barneveld with no choice but to gather his thoughts and try and gain the confidence to attempt to get himself back into the match.

But Littler returned with fire in his belly, taking the third set 3-2 to put himself in pole position to set up a quarter-final clash with Brendan Dolan. Van Barneveld threatened to spoil the party when taking the fourth set, but Littler remained unfazed to rack up a series of 180s and land the fifth set 3-2 to send Ally Pally into a frenzy.

Littler shared a warm embrace with Van Barneveld after securing the victory, with the latter clasping his head and appearing to offer the victor some words of wisdom. Asked after the match what was said, Littler told Sky Sports: “He said at the end, you can go all the way. I said thank you. He is a true gentleman.”

The teenager was reluctant to get ahead of himself when asked whether he truly believed that he was capable of going all the way and becoming world champion, replying: “No. I just looked at the draw, I’ve got Brendan Dolan next. I do fancy myself, but we have Brendan next.”

Three-time world champion John Part was full of praise for Littler after his demolition of Van Barneveld, believing that he made his opponent look ‘insignificant’. He said: “He really is a great player. I have to put aside that he is 16, that was a performance from any player where you say he can win the tournament if you play like that.

“He won easily, it was a great performance. Those are darts that win titles. In the longer format, against a great of the game [van Barneveld] averaging 100, Littler made him look insignificant. Raymond was chuckling, he handled it very well, he is a great of the sport. He will be heartbroken, it was a big chance for Ray – but it is a bigger chance for Luke.”