Colin Lloyd warns against rushing new stars ahead of Premier League Darts season
"If you're not mentally tough [the Premier League] will knock you, eat away at you, and creep into your game," says former world No 1
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 11/01/19 12:25pm
Darts’ new generation - spearheaded by Nathan Aspinall - prove the future is bright, according to Colin Lloyd, but he has warned against the dangers of throwing them into the Premier League too early.
Aspinall shone by reaching the World Darts Championship semi-final but was not rewarded with inclusion to the upcoming Premier League Darts season.
Former world No 1 Lloyd reflected: "People said 'Why not give the young lads a go [in the Premier League?]'
"My point of view is; don't destroy the boys. They've just had the greatest week of their lives. They've got to come up with that again, week-in week-out, then do it again at the weekends where their bread and butter is.
"You don't want to destroy their confidence."
They've just had the greatest week of their lives. They've got to come up with that again, week-in week-out.
World champion Michael van Gerwen will be joined in the Premier League by Rob Cross, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Daryl Gurney, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic, Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade.
The inclusion of veterans Van Barneveld and Wade prevented any of darts' latest, exciting talents making their Premier League debuts. But Lloyd believes there is reason for optimism.
"I thought Aspinall composed himself and conducted himself extremely well [at the World Championship]," he added.
"Although he didn't go as far as Aspinall, Chris Dobey played extremely well and gave Gary Anderson a big scare.
"Darts is in a healthy place. It wasn't all about the big names - Anderson, MVG, Wright. The youngsters proved their worth.
"Rob Cross was the king of the palace but got outgunned by a young lad [Luke Humphries]."
🌍 MIGHTY MIKE: RULER OF PLANET DARTS 🌍 @MVG180 is on a quest for total domination. 🏆 Three PDC World Championship titles 🏆 are simply not enough for the best player on planet #darts 🎯 👉👉👉 https://t.co/kmTeU5Jab7 #LoveTheDarts pic.twitter.com/3n5KlFdQdc— Sky Sports Darts (@SkySportsDarts) January 5, 2019
Previous Premier League campaigns have gotten the better of promising youngsters - Michael Smith and Jelle Klaasen won just once each in nine games in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Lloyd said: "Last year Max Hopp was in the World Series. Bring through [young players] there, so they get a taste.
"It's not about the expectation of the public. It's the expectation of yourself. You go on a Thursday night brimming with confidence then get smashed 7-1. You don't hit the self-destruct button but you have a bad weekend at your ranking tournament.
"If you're not mentally tough [the Premier League] will knock you, eat away at you, and creep into your game."
Don't forget that the Premier League action gets underway on Thursday, February 7 in Newcastle. You can also stay up to date by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news and interviews by heading to www.skysports.com/darts