Michael Smith believes he will go on to be a multiple world champion - once he has broken his duck

The 31-year-old lost out in the final of the PDC World Championship in January, going down to Peter Wright three years on from defeat to Michael van Gerwen.

Regarded as the best player never to win the world title, Smith has finished as runner-up in majors six times.

But asked if he believed the title would one day be his, Smith told the Press Association: "Yes, of course.

"I know I'm a world champion, it's just I've got to win it to prove it now. I know it's in me to be the world champion."

Smith looked to be closing in on his first major title at the Alexandra Palace last month, leading Wright 5-4 and 2-0 up in the tenth leg.

He eventually lost 7-5 and having gone down 7-3 to Van Gerwen in his first world championship final in 2019, Bully Boy said the frustration was greater the second time around.

"The second one was harder to lose, but it was easier to get over than the first loss.

"When I lost to Michael, it was always a question, 'will I ever get another chance, what do I have to do to do it?

"Then I got a second chance, I still lost, but I knew in my game I could make the final more than once - that's why it was easier to get over. It was just more frustrating that I lost again.

"But if I keep looking back I'll never get to move forwards. Knowing I've got the game in me to get to the finals and give myself the chances, that is why I don't dwell on it too much, because I know it's there."

Smith says the key to winning multiple world titles will be getting the first one under his belt, but before then he has other goals for the year.

Michael Smith during day fifteen of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. Picture date: Sunday January 2, 2022.

"I keep telling myself as soon as I get the first one it's a game-changer, and then I get to get more.

"I just have to keep believing in myself and focused, practicing the way I do, and not telling myself 'you keep getting beat'.

"There's about 100 other players in the PDC that'd love to have done what I've done, and I'm getting frustrated at not doing what 10 to 15 players have done. So there's a lot of positives to take.

"I just want to play darts and I go into every tournament wanting to make the quarter-finals, and then once I'm in the quarters I look forward to making the finals and then pushing for the titles.

"I don't want to set unrealistic goals where I want to win every single event I play in, because you're setting yourself up to fail.

"This year I want the mini grand slam, so I want a ProTour, a European and a TV, so I win every type of event we've got this year. That's my aim this year - if I don't get it, I don't get it, but then there's a next year, there's a year after.

"Every life journey is step by step - same as being a baby, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. I've done my crawling, I've done walking - I just need to start running now."

Michael Smith in action against Ron Meulenkamp during day seven of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. Picture date: Tuesday December 21, 2021.

On Thursday, Smith competes in Liverpool in the second round of the revamped Premier League, in which a round-robin has been replaced with individual eight-man knockout events.

"I think the new format is great," said Smith, who faces Jonny Clayton on Thursday. "The fans can potentially see their favourite players play three times a night.

"For the players, you're not spending four hours just to get ready for a best-of-12 match, draw, win or lose, and go home. You win now, you get to stay, play another match, win again, it's great."

Thursday's event is only a short drive from the St Helens native's home, and he added: "I'm really looking forward to playing, and when I get to sleep in my own bed there's an added bonus!"

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