The 19-year-old has hailed the impact of the 2016 African Footballer of the Year after his starring role in Mikel Arteta’s team in the 2020-21 season

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has identified his teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the originator of his ‘Little Chilli’ nickname.

Saka, who made his first-team debut for the Gunners in 2018, has made himself a key player in Mikel Arteta’s side with his consistent displays and versatility.

The 19-year-old was named Arsenal’s Player of the Season for his contribution of seven goals and 10 assists in 46 appearances.

Saka is now known as ‘Little Chilli’ in the England squad and he explained how Aubameyang gave him the name for his finishing during a training session at London Colney.

“It started from Auba,” Saka said in a press conference, per ESPN.

“He said it in French. We’re doing one finishing drill one time in training and he kept saying it, and I kept scoring, I was shooting with so much power and he was calling me little chilli in French [petit piment].

“I didn’t know what it was. I asked him after and he told it means little chilli. From then on he kept calling me it and then it became a thing, and now it’s a big thing, a lot of people call me it, and make it my nickname.”

Saka revealed the gift he received from the Gabon captain after the Gunners defeated Chelsea 2-1 to win the FA Cup title at Wembley last year. He also reserved praise for Aubameyang’s personality.

“He got me the nice chain he promised he would get me if we won the FA Cup,” he added.

“It started from Auba, it’s a show of how great a character he is and how important he is for me and I’d say for the team in terms of the happiness and the vibes in the dressing room. I love it. It’s unique.”

A week ago, Saka scored his first senior goal for England which turned out to be the match-winning strike in their 1-0 friendly win over Austria.

Saka is expected to play a crucial role in Gareth Southgate’s team when the Three Lions begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia on Sunday.

They will also play Scotland and Czech Republic in their upcoming Group D fixtures.

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