Luke Littler shows true colours with Michael van Gerwen warning days after humbling defeat

2024 BetMGM Premier League Darts - Leeds
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Luke Littler has shrugged off his recent defeat to Robert Grundy, sending a bold message to Michael van Gerwen ahead of their World Matchplay showdown. Despite being knocked out in the first round of the Players Championship 13 by world number 116, Grundy, the 17 year old sensation remains undeterred.

Following the draw that pits him against MVG at the World Matchplay, Littler took to social media to issue a warning to the Dutchman. In a cheeky post, he listed the venues where he had previously triumphed over Van Gerwen, each followed by a check-mark emoji.

He then placed a sand timer emoji next to 'Winter Gardens', the venue for their upcoming match on July 13, and told fans to "get your popcorn ready," adding, "it's going to be sick".

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The day after his loss to Grundy, Littler suffered another unexpected defeat, this time to world number 92 James Hurrell at the Players Championship 14. Earlier in the day, he had secured a hard-earned victory over Ricky Evans in the first round but seemed far from his best.

Despite his recent form, Littler's unwavering confidence ahead of his eagerly-awaited clash with Mighty Mike could prove beneficial. The pair have faced each other nine times before, with Van Gerwen narrowly leading with five wins to Littler's four. He has also won their last two encounters.

The World No. 2 has notched up three World Matchplay titles, with his latest triumph in 2022 after defeating Gerwyn Price 18-14 in a gripping final. Littler, on the other hand, is yet to make his debut in the competition, having only shot to fame during the previous year's World Darts Championship.

Littler finds himself pitted against the top seeds due to being unseeded for the tournament, a result of his position outside the top 16 in the order of merit at the deadline. Consequently, a match-up with a high-ranking player was on the cards.

Post-draw reactions saw defending champion Nathan Aspinall express relief at dodging a clash with the prodigious teen. "I'm glad I avoided Luke, definitely," Aspinall remarked.

"I could have drawn Gary [Anderson] or Luke. It's not Littler who I thought I was going to get!"

Instead, Aspinall will face Luke Woodhouse, while world champ Luke Humphries meets newcomer Ricardo Pietreczko, and Michael Smith goes head-to-head with Gary Anderson in what promises to be a thrilling start to the tournament.