Littler: I've surprised myself with Development Tour success

Luke Littler (PDC)

Teenage superstar Luke Littler admits he has surpassed his own expectations, after sealing World Championship qualification and a PDC Tour Card following his sensational 2023 season.

Littler has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign on the Winmau Development Tour, scooping five titles to finish second on the overall Order of Merit.

The 16-year-old has registered an astonishing 22 ton-plus averages on the Development Tour this year, while also landing his first PDC nine-darter in July’s Event 20.

Littler then capped off a stunning spell by progressing to the Winmau World Youth Championship final last weekend, with Dutch superstar Gian van Veen awaiting him in November’s decider.

“I still can’t believe it. I have surprised myself,” conceded Littler, who will become the youngest player to feature in a PDC World Youth Championship final.

“At the start of the year, my ambition was to win one Development Tour title, and I’ve won five!

“I knew I had the ability to beat the best players on the Development Tour, and I’ve beaten quite a few Tour Card Holders – Dylan Slevin, Danny Jansen, Lewy Williams, Keane Barry.

“It is unbelievable. Now I’ve got my Tour Card, I can’t wait to prove what I can do on the big stages.”

Littler will have the opportunity to showcase his talent at Alexandra Palace in December, when he makes his highly-anticipated World Darts Championship debut in the capital.

Having also secured his PDC Tour Card for 2024-25, Littler will pit his wits against the world’s best on the professional circuit for the next two years, which he believes will elevate his game to another level.

“This is a massive achievement in my career,” added the teenager, who will become the third youngest player to compete in a PDC World Championship.

“I believe it will raise my game, because I will be playing against the best players in the world, week in, week out on the ProTour and in qualifying for the European Tour.

“At the moment I don’t practice much. I usually do 30 minutes to an hour a day. Some people probably won’t believe it, but if I’m playing against the best, then I’ve got to up my standard.”

However, before Littler sets his sights on Alexandra Palace, he will take on Van Veen for the Winmau World Youth Championship title at Butlin’s Minehead Resort on Sunday November 26.

The final – staged during the Cazoo Players Championship Finals – will see the top two players from the 2023 Development Tour battling it out for the £10,000 top prize in a fitting finale.

“It would mean the world to me to win that title,” admitted Littler, who reached round four of the UK Open at Minehead back in March.

“I love the build-up to any final. I love the travelling, I love waking up knowing I’m playing on a big stage, and I cannot wait for Minehead.

“I watched Gian on the European Tour this year, and he beat Damon Heta 6-0 with a 115 average! 

“I hope that doesn’t happen again, but I’m just really looking forward to the end of the year now.”