Luke Littler receives savage four-word warning from rival before World Matchplay Darts

Luke Littler has taken the darts world by storm over the past several months, and Nathan Aspinall has admitted that many of the sport’s top players are desperate to put the teenager in his place

Darts star Nathan Aspinall has confessed that the sport’s top players are all gunning to stop Luke Littler’s meteoric rise.

The teenage sensation burst onto the scene during the recent world championship and was crowned Premier League champion in May. Littler has quickly inserted himself into the battle for darts’ biggest honours, including the World Matchplay, which was won by Aspinall last year and gets underway this weekend.

In an intriguing first-round match-up, Littler will face off against former world champion Michael van Gerwen, while reigning champion Aspinall takes on Luke Woodhouse on the other side of the draw. When asked about Littler’s impact on the sport, the world No. 5 conceded that many top players “want to smash him” and earn a statement victory over the young star.

“I wouldn’t say trying to impress, I think they just want to smash him,” Aspinall revealed to talkSPORT. “I think he is winning everything so we have to get to his level or it is just going to keep happening.

“I think it has given us a kick up the backside, it was the same guys all the time and now Luke is winning the Premier League and everything. We are like, ‘he’s 17 mate, we need to put him back in his place’.

“I think that’s what a lot of the players think. Or at least I know one of them that thinks of that. I think it has helped bring the standard up too.”

‘The Asp’ is well aware of the grit required to clinch major darts titles after overcoming the World Matchplay’s gruelling final, which stretches to a best of 35 legs. The prestigious event boasts a hefty £800k prize pot at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, where Aspinall aims to snatch the £200k top prize once again.

“It is about emotion, not getting too ahead of myself and not breaking it down too much,” Aspinall continued. “Just breaking the game down is what I do, you play best of 35 legs so I just give myself little targets.

“I need to be on my game, but I can’t wait to get back on that stage with amazing memories from last year. I think to walk out as a defending champion with Mr Brightside blaring, it is going to be amazing.”

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