Manchester United boss Eric ten Hag has backed Luke Littler to further his sensational debut in professional darts.
The Dutchman met the teenager at United’s training ground this week and gave him some words of inspiration.
Littler received a lot of messages from past and present United players during his run at the World Darts Championship.
David Beckham was one of the famous faces to link up with the youngster during the competition at Alexandra Palace.
Man Utd boss Eric ten Hag sent a perfect message to Luke Littler
Littler was invited to United’s home match against Tottenham earlier this month, where he met legendary former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
This week he was at the Red Devils’ Carrington training base and was introduced to the first-team squad.
Littler shook hands with United players before his season and played darts against Harry Maguire and Christian Eriksen.
Ten Hag also took time to talk to Littler, who turned 17 last Sunday.
And he decided to congratulate him on the success he has achieved so far and said he should continue to show ‘character’.
Ten Hag said: “Congratulations on your performance, it was great. Keep going and I’m sure you’ll win next time. It’s always about character, so keep going!”
Littler returned to Manchester just days after winning his first professional title at the Bahrain Masters.
He hit a nine-darter in his quarter-final win over Nathan Aspinall, before defeating Michael van Gerwen in the final.
Littler has become a household name in the past month and he insists ‘the world has gone crazy.’
He said: “I was happy to go to Bahrain and win it. It was a good experience, it was different to Ally Pally, you could hear everything in the crowd and it was good to see so many youngsters in the live draw.
“Eight of us (seeded players) took pictures and signed autographs. The world has gone crazy.”
“I didn’t expect to beat those guys, I know I have my ability and I believe in my ability and that’s what got me the win.
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“I said I would start slow and then I scored nine in the first over, it’s always a bonus. Even Nath told me, ‘It’s the first over and hold on to the throw’, I said , ‘I know ‘.
“I was happy to cross the line against Nath and Gezi and Michael and get the trophy.”
Littler will compete in the Dutch Masters this weekend before starting his Premier League campaign against world champion Luke Humphreys in Cardiff next Thursday.
The Runcorn-born star says Humphreys, who beat him in the final at Ely Pally, is the pre-tournament favourite.
Luke Littler reaches World Darts Championship final
Littler said: “[Humphries] It’s been incredible. That’s why they’ve won world titles and that’s why they’ve gone on a 20-game winning streak.
“So now he is the man to beat – and all the attention will be on him.
“Hopefully the World Championships won’t be the last time we meet in a major final – and if it’s me and Luke in every final, it’ll still be cool.
“But you’ve still got all those dangerous players – Michael Smith, Gezzi (Gerwyn Price) and Michael van Gerwen – and it’s going to be grueling.
“Everyone who has won a Tour Card can beat you – you win a Tour Card because you are one of the best.”