Nathan Aspinall expects Luke Littler to ‘struggle’ with the travel ahead of his first Premier League Darts campaign, while Peter Wright warns it is not their job to ‘babysit’ the 17-year-old if things go wrong

  • Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall showed Luke Littler no mercy
  • The 17-year-old is preparing to take part in his first Premier League Darts season
  • While Aspinall advises Littler to do well, he expects him to ‘struggle’ with the journey

Nathan Aspinall and Peter Wright have shown Luke Littler no mercy ahead of his first Premier League Darts campaign, which begins in Cardiff on Thursday.

Eight of the world’s best darts players are involved in the tournament, which runs until May, with 17-year-old Littler among them after his stunning run to the World Championship final earlier this year.

But Aspinall and Wright, two veterans of the tour, believe Littler will struggle, claiming it is not their job to babysit the youngster if he does find things difficult on his first outing.

Wright told the Mirror: “It’s his first Premier League, once he gets hit again, on the floor and in the Premier League, nobody’s going to hold him and make sure he’s OK.”

The 53-year-old tour veteran added: ‘I don’t think he needs to be careful, you’re in the toughest league you can play in, in the Premier League and he’s got to deal with it.’

Some of the top names on the Premier League Darts Tour expect Luke Littler to struggle

Some of the top names on the Premier League Darts Tour expect Luke Littler to struggle

Peter Wright doesn't believe Littler needs to be careful as he prepares for his first outing

Peter Wright doesn’t believe Littler needs to be careful as he prepares for his first outing

Aspinall told the Metro he expects Littler to ‘struggle’ in his first Premier League Darts tournament, despite his meteoric rise to the top in recent weeks, which has included victory in the Bahrain Masters.

Aspinall added: ‘He’s got a fantastic future ahead of him but I think the Premier League is going to be difficult for him.’

‘Although he’s probably number two in the world at the moment, performance-wise. The test is when you’re absolutely nuts, all you want to do is go home, but you still have three days to go after being on the road for two weeks. We’ll have to see how he handles those situations.’

Aspinall is backing himself to win the Premier League, tipping Littler to make the top four, despite having to adapt to the difficulties of additional travel as well as playing darts at the highest level.

Aspinall added: ‘The journey is logistically a nightmare, it can be absolutely grim. When it starts, there’s more than just arrows. We’re used to it, we’ve done it for years. He is not and he will struggle.’

On Littler, Aspinall added: ‘At the moment he does something new every week. The Worlds, then in the Premier League, then Bahrain, a 9-darter, a final. I think the first month or so he will enjoy it, he has loads of exciting moments.’

Previously, Michael van Gerwen warned that there could be ‘no mercy’ for Littler on his Premier League debut among the ‘big boys’.

Nathan Aspinall believes that Littler will have to adapt to the struggle to be on the tour

Nathan Aspinall believes that Littler will have to adapt to the struggle to be on the tour

The total tournament prize money is £1 million, with £275,000 picked up by the overall winner

The total tournament prize money is £1 million, with £275,000 picked up by the overall winner

These shots aimed at Littler appear to differ from the opinion of Luke Humphries, who believes the top players will be ‘guarding’ the 17-year-old to make sure no one takes advantage of his young age.

On night one in Cardiff, Littler faces Humphries in a rematch of the Lukes who fought in the World Championship final at the start of January.

The total prize money for the tournament is £1 million, the same as last year’s, with each night’s winner receiving £10,000, and the overall winner picking up £275,000.

For Littler, he admitted he had more nerves when throwing darts with his heroes at Manchester United than he did in the final at Alexandra Palace last month.

Premier League Luke Littler