Michael van Gerwen is best player in the world, says Rod Harrington
Premier League king Michael van Gerwen is the best player on planet darts, says Rod Harrington.
Last Updated: 18/05/13 2:26pm
That's the view of Sky Sports pundit Rod Harrington after the Dutchman defeated Phil Taylor 10-8 at London's O2 Arena on Thursday night to pluck the Premier League title for the first time.
Van Gerwen - who bested James Wade in the semi-finals earlier in the evening - has enjoyed a stellar 12 months on the PDC Tour, winning the World Grand Prix and taking the runners-up spot at both the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Championship.
And Harrington believes the 24-year-old's discipline, confidence, and ability to recover from mid-match setbacks are the reasons for his surge to the very top of the game.
"There's no doubt that Michael is the best player in the world right now," said Harrington, a former two-time World Matchplay champion. "He's proved that by beating the guv'nor and taking the game to Taylor.
"Phil took out a 160 at one stage but the next leg Michael began with a 180, which proves that he doesn't worry and just gets on with things; that's a great thing to have in your locker and it's what Phil has had for years.
"Michael does everything right and is reaping the benefits and a lot of the youngsters have to look at him and go: 'If he can do it, so can I'. This is a great opportunity for the young players in our game."
Van Gerwen trailed Taylor 5-2 at one stage in the English capital, but reduced his deficit to two legs just before the interval and then came out firing in the second portion of the game to win the Premier League crown in his debut season.
And Harrington's fellow analyst Wayne Mardle reckons 'Mighty Mike' - who has risen from just inside the top 32 to second in the world rankings in the last year - will continue to be a thorn in the side of 16-time World Champion Taylor for a long while yet.
"Michael was 5-2 down and had to win the leg before the break - and he did," said Mardle. "That was the turning point because after that he ran riot; it was like the break changed Michael's opinion of how the game was going to go.
"No-one has stood up to Phil like Van Gerwen; we've seen Dennis Priestley come and go, we've seen John Part come and go, we've seen many others come and go, but Michael refuses to buckle.
"He is now the man and since the World Matchplay - when he beat Simon Whitlock in the first round, hit a nine-darter and made the quarter-finals - he has not put a foot wrong."