Luke Littler has revealed that he was contacted by Rio Ferdinand with a ‘crazy’ request after his fairytale run to the World Darts Championship final. The teenage superstar was beaten to the title by Luke Humphries but won over hearts and minds with victories over the likes of Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross at Alexandra Palace.
Littler has quickly emerged as a household name due to his incredible run, which saw him earn £200,000 in prize money as well as a place in this year’s Premier League of Darts. He told BBC Sport that he has been inundated with celebrity messages over the last few days, with Ferdinand joining several YouTube stars in asking him to appear on their podcasts.
“Rio Ferdinand wants me on his podcast,” began Littler. “JaackMaate wants me on his podcast, Angry Ginge wants to meet me and get me on a podcast. It’s all just crazy. I had Luke Shaw as well and Jesse Lingard who have been supporting me. It’s crazy.”
Littler, a Manchester United fan, also revealed during an appearance on Sky News that David Beckham had been in touch with a message of support before he took on Humphries in the World Darts Championship final.
He said: “Before the final he sent me a message saying: ‘Good luck, Luke – once a Red, always a Red’. That was class. It’s just crazy, people who I have looked up to, especially my club Manchester United, wishing me luck.”
Littler began the tournament ranked 164th in the world but has risen to 31st after beating Van Barneveld, Cross, Christian Kist, Andrew Gilding, Matt Campbell and Brendan Dolan on his way to the final. He has been rewarded with a spot on the prestigious Premier League tour, which will see him pitted against seven of the world’s top players.
On his inclusion, Littler added: “It will be right up my street and I can’t wait. Obviously Manchester and Liverpool are very close to my home town [Warrington] and I’m looking forward to the magnificent Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin [as well as] Cardiff, Brighton.
“It’s going to be an amazing experience. Playing darts week in, week out, in front of tens of thousands of fans, against the world’s best players, is a dream come true. I’m looking forward to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, it’s massive and they have a nice crowd over there in Germany.
“It might be lively in Cardiff if I end up playing Gezzy [Gerwyn Price] there on the opening night when he gets the crowd on his side but it will be an amazing experience and a good test for myself. But that’s the nature of the Premier League, I’ve just got to do what I do and show why I’m there every week.”
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