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Luke Littler Given Warning Ahead of Cardiff Debut

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By Hannah Blackwell

Luke Littler has been warned to keep practicing and not get distracted ahead of his Premier League of Darts debut in Cardiff on Wednesday night.

The advice has come from world champion Luke Humphries who urged teenage sensation Littler not to lose form by staying away from the board, otherwise it will “come back to bite him”.

Humphries will face Littler on the opening night of the Premier League in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports in a rematch of the world championship final which Humphries won 7-4.

Since the Worlds, Littler has had an incredible start to his life on tour, beating Michael van Gerwen to win the Bahrain Masters, and hitting a nine-darter against Nathan Aspinall on his way to glory, before beating Humphries in the semi-finals of the Dutch Masters and ultimately falling against MVG in the final.

Despite such rapid success for Littler without any practice, Humphries believes the 17-year-old needs to be careful to not neglect it as it is pivotal to remaining “in form”.

“I wasn’t surprised by his performance but I was surprised he hadn’t practised since the world final” Humphries told Sky Sports.

“You have to be careful in this game to put in enough effort. If you feel like you have got to the point in your game where you are great and you are not practising, it will come back to bite you.

“It is important he stays dedicated and practises hard because that is a point in the game where you can lose yourself.

“I know players who have done that, Michael Smith has openly admitted he didn’t practice all last year then all of a sudden he lost his form.

“So, I feel like that is a massive point in your game you have to focus on.

“But he had a lot of tough performances, Gezzy [Gerwyn Price] and Michael didn’t turn up against him and allowed him to go on.

“But that is the type of player he is, if you don’t put pressure on him, he will beat you so I wasn’t shocked at all.

“He is part of the elite and rightly so.”

Although he is the newly crowned world champion, this will be the first time Humphries has taken part in the Premier League after being left out in 2023.

While the omission hurt at the time, he believes it is key to how he has performed so well over the past year and he is now in the perfect position, due to hard work and practice, to put in big performances week in, week out on the Premier League stage.

“I was left out last year and I felt like I should have been in it with the way I performed at the back end of the year,” Humphries added.

“But, the made the right decision to not put me in and I made the right decision to practise, practise after that.

“I think ultimately I made the right decision and that was to not let it affect me.

“It made me a better person, a better player, and was the right thing for my career. I am now world No 1, world champion, and I am much better equipped to be a part of it.

“It is never going to go your way for all 16 weeks but I am going to make sure there are more good weeks than bad.”

Once you have reached the “pinnacle” of any sport, it can be hard to remain motivated or find something new to spur you on to compete.

Humphries admits that he took time after his Worlds win to analyse what he now wants from his career and staying world No 1 for as long as possible, plus getting another big win, is now what he has set his sights on.

“That was the one thing, when I woke up a couple of days after it I thought to myself, ”You have been motivated your whole life to become world champion, now you are, what do you wake up in the morning to look forward to what motivates you?,” he said.

“I thought, being world No 1 and staying there motivates me. Once you hit the peak you don’t want to go down again.

“That is only going to be possible with hard work.

“What is important for me is to dedicate even more, practice harder, and keep working towards winning as many titles as I can.

“I think the first tournament I win as world champion will be the hardest because I always want to win one as world champion.

“That first one over the line will be important but I am going to work hard.”

Premier League Darts returns to Sky Sports on Thursday, February 1 as Cardiff kicks off the 17-week extravaganza all the way through to the Play-Offs on Thursday, May 23.

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