By Phil Lanning
RAYMOND van Barneveld has to show no negativity or he’ll get “ripped to shreds” according to Sky pundit Wayne Mardle.
The Dutch legend made a stunning return to darts at the turn of the year winning his Tour Card and then continuing the fairytale with victory at the PDC Super Series.
But five-times World Championship semi-finalist Mardle says that he has to keep up his fighting spirit otherwise his comeback will go wrong.
He told Sky Sports: “He’s got a new manager, Ben de Kok, and he has said to him that he needs to apply himself properly otherwise this is not going to work.
“He’s got a fitness regime going on, a practice regime going on and Ben is running Barney as the business that he kind of is and there’s more.
“Ben is telling Raymond ‘you don’t moan at this’, ‘you don’t get down in a match and give up’, you don’t shake your head or say to everyone that you don’t like these events…show no negativity.
“In my mind, Barney has to do this. He has to act that way because otherwise he’s just going to get ripped to shreds.
“Barney is quite thin-skinned, he’s quite sensitive. Sometimes he doesn’t come across that way but I know him, he is and he is going to have to show a lot of fighting ability and a lot of resilience.
“The one thing that he has always shown is talent. I’m not surprised he won, I saw it coming, but certainly not this soon, but I think he’s re-applying himself.
“If you give it two, four, six months, we might see a drop off in that fighting quality but for now, it is there and he’s got to make the most of it.”
Barney has always been a huge favourite of Scottish darts fans but was ironically dumped out of the UK Open by Angus star Alan Soutar on his return to the big stage.
Mardle added: “I thought that the UK Open came at a good time for him but he got an absolutely awful draw and lost which can happen in that tournament.
“He will take a lot from winning this early on the Pro Tour but he really couldn’t care less about what he’s done.
“Winning a tournament for the first time in years is absolutely gigantic for him, but it’s also big for the players that he is going to play on a regular basis. Now they will have that ‘Barney’s here’ feeling.”
Images by Taylor Lanning.