‘If I was English, oh my god!’, cries darts ace Michael van Gerwen as he speaks out on the rise of Luke Littler

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN reckons his sporting fame and status would have been greater than what worldwide phenomenon Luke Littler is experiencing had he been English.

The Dutchman, 34, is a three-time world darts champion and winner of countless major trophies since breaking through as a prodigious 17-year-old.

RexMichael van Gerwen believes he would be more famous than Luke Littler if he was English[/caption]

Some may argue that the art of throwing tungsten can be divided up into three eras of dominance.

The first period, in the 1980s, saw Cockney Eric Bristow claim five world crowns while playing with panache and cockiness.

Then came the era of Phil Taylor, who ruled the oche throughout the 1990s and 2000s and set records that may never be eclipsed.

And we are currently in the Van Gerwen era in which the sport has truly gone global and the green-shirted figure has long been the man to beat.

Yet these days, despite all his wealth and legacy, he is having to play second fiddle in the interest stakes to 17-year-old from Warrington.

Littler has transformed the popularity of darts and continues to grab all the headlines since his epic run to the World Darts final.

Van Gerwen wonders how his life would have turned out, how bigger he would have been, if he had been born in England and not Holland.

The world No.2 said: “Luke is English. If I was English, oh my God! Do you know what I mean? What it would have been like over the years.

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“That’s the way. You have to accept it. You have to battle it. You have to face it. And you have to answer it.

“That’s what you do. Winning the battles.”

As a break from the relentless Premier League Road Show, Van Gerwen heads to Butlin’s Minehead this weekend for the UK Open.

Though he had won the FA Cup of Darts on three occasions, he will be aiming to make amends for his 2023 final defeat to outsider Andrew Gilding.

Honest Van Gerwen said: “In the final, I let myself down big time. I should have won that tournament. But you only can blame yourself for things like that.

Luke is English. If I was English, oh my God! Do you know what I mean? What it would have been like over the years.

Michael van Gerwen

“Last year I lost more finals with the same scenario, where all of a sudden I dropped down. Then you need to look at it and say: ‘Why is that?’

“Last year I didn’t play on the ProTour with the right intensity and right reason.

“I made a lot of mistakes. Everybody in darts needs a reality check. Or a little slap on the bum.

ReutersLittler has taken the sporting world by storm since reaching the PDC World Darts Championship final[/caption]

PAVan Gerwen is eyeing a fourth UK Open title this weekend[/caption]

“It’s not about money. It’s a lot about pride. You have to invest time and be away from your family a lot.

“Did I get a little bit complacent? Yeah. Of course. Sometimes I did think what the f*** am I doing here?

“I played okay last year – good in few tournaments, poorly in a lot of tournaments. You need to find the right balance.

“I feel good now. That is really important. There is a different mindset for me now.”

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