Gary Anderson has warned against putting excessive pressure on 16-year-old Luke Littler ahead of his clash against Raymond van Barneveld at the World Darts Championship.

Littler, the world youth champion, is the youngest player to reach the last 16 and was born 21 days after Van Barneveld won the most recent of his five world titles in 2007.

The pair will face off at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, and two-time world champion Anderson is worried about the amount of attention being put on Littler at such a young age.

Luke Littler is in the spotlight at Ally PallyLuke Littler is in the spotlight at Ally Pally (Steven Paston/PA)

“If it goes t*** up with Luke, give yourselves a pat on the back,” Anderson told reporters. “Let the boy play darts. I’ve been downstairs and he’s got cameras, zoom calls, meetings…Let the boy play darts.

“He’s had a great tournament, he’s done well. What if it all goes Pete Tong now? You boys have ruined that. Let the boy play darts. He’s 16 years old.

“Keep having that boy mic’ed up, doing interviews when he should be on the practice board. You’ve seen it a thousand times. Every year there’s a boy come through.

“You’ve not got a clue how many young darts players coming through the system who are the next big thing and then there’s the pressure on it and it all goes Pete Tong. We’ve seen it in the past.”

Raymond van Barneveld is through to the last 16 Raymond van Barneveld is through to the last 16 (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Van Barneveld set up the meeting with Littler with a 4-1 win over Jim Williams.

“I will love to play Luke Littler,” he said. “When I was 16 I was playing with Lego and Playmobile, we didn’t have the internet or whatever.

“This guy is amazing, and I am looking forward so much to that game. He is a quality player and I can’t wait to meet him tomorrow night.”