Premier League Darts line-up revealed as PDC makes Luke Littler decision

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Luke Littler has been offered a place in this year’s Premier League Darts line-up after the 16-year-old’s stunning run to the World Championship final at Alexandra Palace.

Littler’s remarkable performances in becoming the youngest-ever World Championship finalist on his tournament debut transcended the sport and turned the Warrington teenager into a global star.

A World Championship record TV audience of 4.8m tuned in as Littler was defeated by World No 1 Luke Humphries in a thrilling final on Wednesday night, and Littler will now become the youngest Premier League contestant in history when he makes his debut in Cardiff on February 1.

“It’s unbelievable. No more development tour. This is it,” Littler told Sky Sports News. “Playing in the Premier League and comfortably in the (world’s top) 32.

“As soon as I came off the stage, did the media and saw the family my manager pulled me aside and said ‘Do you want to do it?’ I said, ‘Let’s do it, it might not happen again’.

“I’ll probably have to take a break maybe from a few ProTours but I knew what was coming as soon as I said yes to the Premier League.

“This is just going to be an incredible experience.”

There are were eight spots available for the prestigious Premier League – a weekly round-robin competition played around the UK and with a couple of stops in Europe between February and May.

The top-four ranked players in the world – newly crowned world champion Humphries, Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Nathan Aspinall – qualified automatically, with the PDC deciding the other four entrants.

(Getty Images)

But Littler will now join them after receiving one of four wildcards, along with Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross, who make up the final eight.

After being controversially omitted from the Premier League last year, new world champion Humphries was included this time around.

The 28-year-old believes it was ultimately the correct decision for him but believes Littler has to seize the opportunity he has been given.

“Luke did make the right decision. He’s a top talent in darts now and these are the sort of things you want to be playing in. How talented he is already he will grow to even greater heights,” said Humphries.

“It was a hard thing (being left out) to take for me but in the best way. The call we had was, ‘Prove us wrong and prove that we maybe should have put you in’ and I did that just about.

“I think they made the right decision because it allowed me to go on and have no scars in the Premier League. It may have been too early for me.

“I’m more well-equipped than ever so what better way to play in it than when you are world champion?”

However, 16-time world world champion Phil Taylor thought it would have been in Littler’s best interests to be kept out of the limelight for while.

“If I was Luke’s manager I’d probably shy him away this year and do it next year,” he told talkSPORT before the announcement was made.

Humphries, defending champion Van Gerwen, last year’s world champion Smith and two-time world champion Wright all automatically qualified via the PDC Order of Merit.

Former world No 1 Price and Aspinall are also included, along with former world champion Cross.

2024 Premier League Darts line-up

Luke HumphriesMichael van GerwenMichael SmithNathan AspinallGerwyn PriceRob CrossPeter WrightLuke Littler

Includes reporting from PA


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