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Exclusive: Nathan Aspinall explains why ‘phenomenal’ Luke Littler will eventually face burn out

Luke Littler can handle the darts but his real test will be handling the travel and media, according to PDC star Nathan Aspinall.

Littler has taken the sporting world by storm following his run to the world championship final last month.

The teenager, who was eventually beaten at Alexandra Palace by Luke Humphries, continued his epic form at the opening event of the World Series of Darts last Friday.

Littler was at his scintillating best as he reached the Bahrain Masters final where he beat Michael van Gerwen to claim his first senior PDC title.

Despite turning 17 last Sunday, Littler already feels like a household name, attracting more mainstream media attention than any other player on the PDC Tour.

His epic rise has left many questioning whether things are progressing too quickly for his own good. Former world champions Van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, for instance, both underlined their concerns in recent times.

Aspinall, who comes from the same stable of players as Littler, told Planet Sport: “I’ve known Luke many years, I’ve practiced with Luke, he is absolutely a phenomenal talent.

“I practiced with him before the world championship, so I knew he was playing well. But the way he handled himself, he exceeded my expectations.

“He’s a fantastic player, a lovely kid.”

Littler hit a nine-darter against Aspinall in the first leg of their Bahrain Masters quarter-final last week.

The Asp, who was visibly delighted for the teenager, believes Littler will cope with the strenuous darting schedule.

However, the world number four also admitted that burn out is inevitable, with every player experiencing a dip due to the non-stop nature of the sport.

“I think he can handle the darts,” Aspinall said. “I think it’s the other stuff that may have an effect on him.

“At the end of the day, he’s just a kid playing darts, he doesn’t care about the money, he just loves playing darts.

“I think playing darts every single day won’t affect him. I think the travelling and the media could have a bit of an impact on him.

“But I’m confident. He’s got the same manager as me. We’ve got a fantastic management team around us.

“As long as he doesn’t get ahead of himself and think he’s the ‘big man’ which I don’t think he will because he’s not that type of guy. I think he’ll be fine.

“Will he get burned out? Yes. But every single player that plays in the Premier League and World Series gets burned out. Because it’s so demanding.

“He will be fine, he will cope with the darts. He will deal with the press in his own way. He will get burned out, but he just has to learn to manage his calendar.

“Unfortunately for Luke, because he’s just started on the Tour, he has to play in everything to get his ranking up.

“But he’s got a great team, he shouldn’t really get tired. He’s not 32 like us with kids to look after when he gets home.

“He’s a credit to the game. It’s a massive bonus of the game of darts. Not just for himself but for all of the other players on the Tour. What Luke brings to the Tour is massive for us all.”

Littler and Aspinall both return to action at the Dutch Darts Masters this Friday night.

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