Give young British snooker talent wildcards - Mark Williams

Media playback is not supported on this device

Mark Williams is hoping to inspire the next generation of snooker talent

World champion Mark Williams said more wildcard entries to tournaments are needed to encourage the next generation of British snooker talent.

Williams, 43, lifted his third world title - 15 years after his last - by beating John Higgins at the Crucible.

With Higgins aged 42, Williams admits he was expecting a new generation of British players to have emerged by now.

"You've got to give them a wildcard, get them on the tour and encourage them," said the Welshman.

"We thought they would have taken over by now, but actually us old ones are still hanging around longer than people thought."

Williams points to the rise of new talent from China, who he says has been producing "brilliant" youngsters through wildcards.

"Every time we mention juniors, it's always China, China, there's loads of them," added Williams, who became the oldest world champion since fellow Welshman Ray Reardon claimed the title in 1978 at the age of 45.

He warned that if more British youngsters "don't start coming through", Chinese youngsters will take over the game in the next 20 years.

Media playback is not supported on this device

World Snooker Championship: Williams holds nerve to win pulsating final

Williams said there are a couple of British names "floating around", including Welsh teenager Jackson Page.

"It's not just because Jackson's my friend and I know him well," Williams added.

"They did it with the Chinese years ago, they gave them wildcards in everything and they turned into brilliant players by the time they were 17 or 18.

"You've got to do the same for the British ones as well... get them in there."

Williams is also hoping his success will encourage youngsters to "pick up a cue" and head down to their local snooker club.

Top Stories