Luke Littler has struck back at those making jokes about his age, with the bearded 16-year-old now a household name and a recognisable face after his dream World Darts Championship run. Littler is set to continue mixing it with world-class players more than twice his age after being included in this year’s Premier League Darts line-up.
Arriving at the Alexandra Palace as the reigning world youth champion, Littler put in a sequence of performances that showed maturity beyond his years. Wins over former world title holders Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross carried him through to a blockbuster final against Luke Humphries on Wednesday night.
Although Littler came out on the losing side, with ‘Cool Hand’ prevailing 7-4, his rise to stardom banked him £200,000 in prize money. The 2007-born talent’s Ally Pally exploits made him the talk of the town, with many finding it hard to believe that he is only 16.
But the teenager himself pays no mind to those launching digs about his age, telling BBC Sport: “I’ve got a nice beard, that’s what people are going to say.
“People are 16 without one hair, and people even older [laughs]. It’s been going on for years. When I was 14 they said I didn’t look my age but I’m not bothered. I know I’m 16! I just block it out, laugh at them, don’t even reply to them or give them my time.”
Littler is by far and away the youngest darts player ever to make a PDC world final, surpassing the record set by 21-year-old Kirk Shepherd in 2008. He will once again be one of the main attractions if he returns to the Ally Pally at the end of the year.
When asked which private message of encouragement left him the most starstruck, Littler responded: “I could name so many, but I’d have to say David Beckham. He said, ‘Once a red, always a red’.
“Romeo, his son who was at the darts; Rio Ferdinand wants me on his podcast; it’s just all crazy. Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard have also been supporting me.”