Luke Littler is bringing a whole new generation of fans to the world of darts — and he’s still only 16

You might not think you're into darts but the second you watch him, Luke 'The Nuke' will make you think twice.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 2nd January 2024

We’re going to start this off by confessing that we’ve never been the most die-hard darts fans, only occasionally watching the odd game when it’s on in the pub and not knowing much beyond the big names — but there’s one name that everyone’s tipping to join them: Luke Littler.

For a lot of people who’ve recently gotten into the arrows, the famous nine-dart finish from the 2023 World Darts Champion Michael Smith against Michael van Gerwen — which went down as ‘the greatest leg ever‘ — will have likely been their way into the sport. It certainly caught our attention.

However, despite last year’s thrilling winner and crowd favourite crashing out, young Luke Littler isn’t just exciting his fair share of fans, players and pundits alike with his senior debut but he could genuinely go on and win the lot and is rapidly attracting a raft of new viewers who suddenly have someone to support.

Oh yeah, and did you know he’s still only 16?

Luke ‘The Nuke’ Littler doesn’t look nervous standing up there in front of all those people. Not one bit.

On a serious note, the constant reminder of his age may have become a bit of a meme, especially given the whole looking a bit older than a teenager thing (insert tired Wolfy from The Inbetweeners joke here), but, at the root, it’s simply because it’s so hard to believe he’s already that good.


That’s not to say that the youngster born just down the road in Runcorn and based even closer in Warrington is new to the game though; the 16-year-old told Sky Sports that he’s had a set of darts in his hand since he was “18 months old” and grew up idolising his sporting hero, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.

Littler also became the first two-time Junior Darts Corporation world champion in history back in November 2023, making it consecutive wins barely a fortnight before entering his first-ever senior World Championship as an unseeded teen who is now being considered as the genuine favourite to win it.


Other players have won the WDC on debut in the past, his upcoming semi-final opponent Rob Cross being one of them back in 2018, but very few have ever arrived at the oche looking so at home and so supremely confident as such a young age.

Having secured his spot in the final four on New Year’s Day after beating seasoned pro and infamous big game pest, Brendan Dolan, the local phenomenon became the youngest player in history to reach the semi-finals, taking home a cool £100,000 in the process. Not bad for being basically fresh off his GCSEs.

The chants of ‘he’s got school in the morning!’ have been ringing around Alexandra Palace ever since he stepped foot in the place but it can’t be overstated just how true that is. The local lad and avid Manchester United fan only just finished secondary school this past summer and is now being discussed in the same breath as the game’s very best. Again, he’s 16.


What’s more is that it’s not just the obvious natural talent which he’s apparently boasted since the age of four that’s earning him so many fast fans and new eyes to the sport, in general: it’s his whole demeanour. He struts around the stage like he’s been there as long as any other player, rarely so much as a set and doesn’t just brush off the age jokes, he seems to almost thrive on the noise and the hype.

From conducting the Ally Pally crowd to the PDC’s famous ‘Chase The Sun’ theme song, winking, grinning and showboating at all the right moments; joking with interviewers about his post-match victory kebab and a coke, snapping selfies with famous footballers already enamoured with his meteoric rise and more — he really does look to have it all.

Everyone’s new favourite 16 year old is now just two games away not just from greatness, he’s already well and truly on that road, but a seriously immense bit of darts and sporting history full stop.

While van Gerwen became the youngest player to ever win a PDC major at 23 back in 2012, the youngest World Champion was Adrian Lewis at the age of 25. If Luke ‘The Nuke’ does goes on to lift that trophy, he’ll be comfortably in the history books before his career has even really started.

Moreover, the fact that he literally looks like half of the blokes most people went to school with (only with much better beard coverage than most of us had at that age) means that it’s been easy for fans and newcomers to latch on to him and a sport that’s viewership jumped 33% from 2022 to 2023 alone.


It was only after Christmas chats with nine-year-old nephews, hearing our nans talk about ‘that brilliant young darts lad’ and watching a packed out Mulligans full of people from all walks erupt in cheers and pure limbs after his previous win that it hit home just how massive a prospect he is for the future of darts.

He isn’t just the bookes’ favourite, he’s Ally Pally’s too.

With MvG now out and only former champ Cross, fellow unseeded underdog Scott Williams and another heavy favourite in Luke Humphries left standing in his way, he admitted he really is “starting to dream” that he can do it and, more importantly, he believes he can.

Luke Littler is looking like a truly generational talent who is already on the brink of history in what is sure to be a blockbuster all-English final two rounds and could truly change the game for decades to come.

No pressure — not that he’d feel it anyway.

It’s absolute fairytale stuff and we can’t wait to see how this chapter pans out. If you’re not into darts yet, we’d bet a fair few of you are about to be.

Does this sound like a man who’s going to let his age and experience get in the way? Don’t think so.

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Featured Images — Luke Littler (via Instagram)/Sky Sports