Saturday, December 3, 2022

Bukayo Saka explains ‘Little Chilli’ nickname as he sets to add spice to Garry Southgate’s attack.

Bukayo Saka explains ‘Little Chilli’ nickname as he sets to add spice to Garry Southgate’s attack.

Buyako Saka may be identified “Little Chilli” but maintains his recipe for success this summer is down to a more homely Swede.

The Arsenal star was nicknamed ‘Petit Piment’ by club skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in July 2020.

“I call him ‘Little Chilli’ but in French, so it is ‘Petit Piment’. ‘It’s because he is like a little chili, so much energy, so much power and is quite small so it’s funny.”

And when Saka eased the Gunners to victory in the FA Cup final, he even got made a jewel-encrusted piece of chili bling with ‘SAKA’ written across it which he gave to the Arsenal prodigy.

“We were doing one finishing drill one time in training and he kept staying it, and I kept scoring,” Saka recalled.

“I was shooting with so much power and he was calling me ‘Little Chilli’ in French.

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“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.
“Of course, he got me the nice chain he promised he would get me if we won the FA Cup.

“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.”

However, the more realistic advice Saka is using this summer came in a text from Arsenal’s legendary former player Freddie Ljungberg after he scored against Austria last week at the Riverside.

The Sweden international was a manager at Arsenal until the coming of Mikel Arteta as manager and has kept touch with the players since.

“He texted me the other day when I scored,” Saka said.

“He wrote, ‘Congratulations, and make sure you pack a few things that you would do at home and that will keep yourself entertained because you have a good team and are going to go far and be here a long time.’

“It is not just the football side, he is a man who helps me with my personal life as well.

“He is such a top guy and I really appreciate that message from him.

“He has been really good with me. From 14, when he took over my development, he challenged me in a way other coaches did not.

“He pushed me and saw my potential in a way other coaches did not. All the way to the Under-23s he was still pushing me and even in the first team he was still helping me.

“Even till today. He has had a big influence on my career.”

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Bukayo Saka explains ‘Little Chilli’ nickname as he sets to add spice to Garry Southgate’s attack.

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