James Wade poses to Ally Pally like Eric Cantona to celebrate huge checkout

James Wade got the Alexandra Palace crowd on his side during his 2022 PDC World Darts Championship semi-final against Michael Smith by channeling his inner Eric Cantona.

The Machine, who was looking to reach the final of the showpiece tournament for the first time, took on the big favourite Smith on Sunday evening.

The experienced star slipped behind by two sets to nil in the first to six contest, but got back into the encounter against the darts with his opponent sitting on 25.

Having shared two legs apiece in the third set, Wade hit treble 20, treble 11 and finally double 14 to secure one of the most memorable checkouts of the tournament.

With the crowd already on side thanks to his mega score, Wade left his darts in the board to turn and face the stands with his hands on his hips.

Holding the position despite the need to start the next set, Wade has been compared to Manchester United icon Cantona for the display of confidence.

One of Cantona's most iconic celebrations came after he scored a delightful chip against Sunderland in 1996, after which he turned to face the crowd and showed minimal emotion.

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One fan wrote on Twitter: "James Wade turning to the crowd and holding the Cantona pose, looking like an IT technician who's installed a firewall in record time. What a man."

With a second adding: "Absolutelly brilliant! Typical James Wade."

And a third saying: "Loads of bottle there from Wadey! He won't go away."

With a fourth concluding: "Wade is definitely in the mood, best I’ve seen him play in years."

Wade went into the match full of confidence despite his status as underdog, and had a pop at former professional Wayne Mardle after seeing off Mervyn King.

He said: "I’m not going under the radar. It’s just that people like Wayne Mardle don’t think I’m good enough – but I’ve won more than he did.

“I don’t think Wayne Mardle can ever compare what he has done to what I have done.

“He was a wonderful entertainer and if anything with Phil Taylor, he helped bring darts on further than it could have been. But you cannot really compare Wayne Mardle to James Wade. Not with achievements."

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