The Nuke will make his Premier League debut on Thursday night against Luke Humphries in Cardiff after his stunning run to the World Championship final earned himself a spot in the tournament.
The 17-year-old is being thrown in at the deep end in his first season as a professional, although he has already shown he is more than capable of staying afloat by winning the Bahrain Darts Masters and reaching the final of the Dutch Darts Masters since Alexandra Palace.
Wade, a veteran of 12 Premier League campaigns, is well aware that the tournament can take its toll on a player, though, touring the UK and parts of Europe every Thursday night until late May.
Even if Littler succeeds in the Premier League, as he has on the World Series, they are non-ranking events and he will need ranking points elsewhere to make tournaments like the World Matchplay and Grand Prix.
Wade feels his chances of gaining those ranking points at Pro Tour and European Tour events will be hampered by the Premier League and there could be the ‘slightly strange’ situation of Littler not being involved in big tournaments to come.
‘A huge tournament in the limelight should have been followed by a year of keeping his head down, picking up ranking points, learning about his game, and gradually becoming a force to be reckoned with,’ Wade told the Daily Star of the teenage superstar.
’But Littler has already become the PDC’s biggest asset and they want to parade him around the country – and in the case of the World Series, the globe – while they have him. I will caveat by saying that he might revel in it, lap it up and finish top of the top four – but ultimately that will come at a cost further down the line.
‘The first major one will be his ability to qualify for events. It is all well and good being in exhibitions like the World Series and the Premier League – by the way, I would have bitten your hand off to be in them – but what he needs now is ranking points.
’It will be slightly strange if ends up unqualified for big ranking events because of the stresses and strains of the Premier League. All that said, it will certainly be exciting to find out how it all pans out.’
Littler will actually have a few days off after Cardiff on Thursday as he is not involved in the Masters from 2-4 February.
The Nuke will return for the Premier League Night 2 in Berlin next week for a rematch of the World Championship semi-final against Rob Cross.
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