ST HELENS darter Michael Smith has reiterated his belief that he will become a world champion.

The 31-year-old last month lost his second PDC World Championship final, being beaten by Peter Wright three years on from defeat to Michael Van Gerwen in his first.

Asked if he believed the title would be his one day be his, Smith said: "Yes, of course.

"I know I'm a world champion, it's just I've got to win it to prove it now. I know it's in me to be the world champion."

Smith looked to be closing in on what would be his first major title at 5-4 up against Wright in the Alexandra Palace final in early January before losing 7-5.

Wright, who went down 7-3 against Van Gerwen in 2019, said: "The second one was harder to lose, but it was easier to get over than the first loss.

"When I lost to Michael, it was always a question, 'will I ever get another chance, what do I have to do to do it?

"Then I got a second chance, I still lost, but I knew in my game I could make the final more than once - that's why it was easier to get over. It was just more frustrating that I lost again.

"But if I keep looking back I'll never get to move forwards. Knowing I've got the game in me to get to the finals and give myself the chances, that is why I don't dwell on it too much, because I know it's there."

Smith has finished as runner-up in majors six times, and he added: "I keep telling myself as soon as I get the first one it's a game-changer, and then I get to get more.

"I just have to keep believing in myself and focused, practicing the way I do, and not telling myself 'you keep getting beat'.

"There's about 100 other players in the PDC that'd love to have done what I've done, and I'm getting frustrated at not doing what 10 to 15 players have done. So there's a lot of positives to take.

"I just want to play darts and I go into every tournament wanting to make the quarter-finals, and then once I'm in the quarters I look forward to making the finals and then pushing for the titles.

"I don't want to set unrealistic goals where I want to win every single event I play in, because you're setting yourself up to fail.

"This year I want the mini grand slam, so I want a ProTour, a European and a TV, so I win every type of event we've got this year. That's my aim this year - if I don't get it, I don't get it, but then there's a next year, there's a year after.

"Every life journey is step by step - same as being a baby, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. I've done my crawling, I've done walking - I just need to start running now."

Smith on Thursday competes in Liverpool in the second round of the revamped Premier League, in which a round-robin has been replaced with individual eight-man knockout events.

"I think the new format is great," said Smith, who faces Jonny Clayton on Thursday. "The fans can potentially see their favourite players play three times a night.

"For the players, you're not spending four hours just to get ready for a best of 12 match, draw, win or lose, and go home. You win now, you get to stay, play another match, win again, it's great.

"I'm really looking forward to playing, and when I get to sleep in my own bed there's an added bonus!"