Taylor predicts imminent changing of the guard in world darts

Taylor battled past Bennett at The Tower of London (credit:Taylor Lanning)

Phil Taylor believes that darts has now become a “young man’s game” as the old guard make way for a new crop of superstars.

The 16-time World Champion admits that it is the end of an era with himself, Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson all bowing out of the big stage.

Taylor, 58, defeated 13-year-old BDO World Youth Champion Leighton Bennett 10-7 in an epic SAP challenge match at the Tower of London on Tuesday and admits it is time for a new generation to make their mark.

"I think Gary [Anderson] has probably got another year or two left in him," Taylor told Live Darts. "He does work a lot. He has bitten the candle off at both ends if you know what I mean. 

"He has been a really good professional but I think he has burned himself out.

"They are all shattered, that's my opinion. I was 58-years-old and I was shattered when I was 45, when you become 50 or nearly 60, you cannot keep that schedule up - it's impossible. 

"You have young kids like Leighton doing it seven days a week and you cannot compete. I could compete – but now and again.

"Adrian [Lewis] and Gary are slipping off the radar – it's a fitter, stronger man's game now. You have got to be fit and healthy and do it right.  

"But when you are working, ask Michael van Gerwen, ask Barney, ask Peter Wright, James Wade, when you are on the road 5-6-7 days a week, it's impossible - you can't do it."

Taylor also hopes that his old biggest rival Barney can go out with one last hurrah with a major title before retirement and has dismissed speculation the Dutchman could call it a day before the end of the season.

He added: "I think he is struggling with the form as well, people are playing well against him as they know it’s Barney's last year. 

"He's got what you call the 'Man United syndrome' now where everybody will play out of their skin against him – and they are. The fear factor has gone now.

"No, he won't retire before, he has got to carry on, but whether he qualifies for things, who knows? 

"He got to the ProTour final this week. I text him and Aidy and said: 'Well done' to the pair of them.

"I hope Barney can win in his final year, I hope so. I really hope he qualifies for Blackpool and the worlds and Ireland.

"Barney has been a winner, he has been very dedicated for a lot of years. 

"This is what people don't realise, how dedicated he has been, the amount of running about and travelling he has done. He has been a winner. 

"The worst loser I have ever met in my life, the best winner I have ever met in my life.

"I loved playing Barney and I still do.

"I really hope he knuckles down now. He has had a runner-up slot and this will give him the confidence he needs to push on and I really hope he gets to the world final."


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Taylor predicts imminent changing of the guard in world darts

Phil Taylor believes that darts has now become a “young man’s game” as the old guard make way for a new crop of superstars.

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