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Ronnie O’Sullivan names two young snooker players that ‘have what it takes to hang around’


Ronnie O’Sullivan can’t see many young talents to get excited about (Picture: Benjamin Mole/WST/REX)

Ronnie O’Sullivan feels Kyren Wilson and Louis Heathcote are two players that ‘have what it takes to hang around’ but is struggling to think of any more young talents that are likely to make it to the top of snooker.

The Rocket grabbed headlines on his way to a sixth World Championship title this summer as he slammed the young talent in the game.

‘Most of them, they’d probably do well as half decent amateurs, not even amateurs, I mean, they’re so bad,’ O’Sullivan said at the Crucible.

‘A lot of them you see now, you think, cor, I’ve probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50.’

The 44-year-old has explained those comments further, saying he was hoping to motivate some young players to prove him wrong and show more consistency on the main tour, because as it stands, it is largely just Wilson and Heathcote that he expects to make an impact at the top of the rankings.

‘Every player on this tour is capable of beating anyone on their day but it’s not good enough to just have a good day, you’ve got to have good months, good years, good decades,’ O’Sullivan told The Blank Podcast.

‘We’re not talking about being good enough on the day, we’re talking about having a good career really and days aren’t enough. You have to have good months and years to hang around long enough and that’s what I’m hoping by saying what I said in a way is going to give these youngsters a kick up the a***.

“There are a couple on the circuit; Kyren Wilson is definitely one of them and another guy is Louis Heathcote, I spot that they have what it takes to hang around and get the most out of their career. I just wish there was more players like me, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Steven Maguire, Barry Hawkins that generation of players, I just wish there was an influx of those players coming in but I just don’t see it.’

Wilson has already made great strides in the game, losing to O’Sullivan in the World Championship final this year and currently standing at number six in the world, but turning 29 this year, he is not really in the youthful bracket of player any more.

Heathcote was voted Rookie of the Year after his first season on tour in 2019/20 and has been impressive, but at 23-years-old and ranked at 82 in the world, he also has a lot of catching up to do, with his best result so far a run to the third round of the English Open.

Kyren Wilson has won three ranking titles (Picture: REX)

O’Sullivan wants to see bright young talents emerge in the game and hopes his criticism will help push some forwards.

‘They’re not good enough…whatever I said. I think it’s okay to say stuff like that, I wasn’t slagging anyone off,’ Ronnie continued. ‘In fact, I was hoping that in some ways it would inspire a lot of the younger generation to kind of go “you know what I’m going to prove him wrong”.

‘Because that’s all I’ve done all my life when I was a kid growing up, I’d get knocks and every time I got a knock that just made me more and more determined to what to become better and a better player so for me a knock was fantastic.’

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 14-year-old opponent relishing Championship League Snooker clash

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