Ex-Arsenal youngster Nico Yennaris discusses new name after China switch
Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will start in8CancelPlay nowSign up to FREE email alerts from Mirror – Arsenal FCSubscribeWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email
Former Arsenal and Brentford man Nico Yennaris has changed his name to Li Ke after becoming the first naturalised player to represent China.
The 27-year-old made the switch to Beijing Guoan and gave up his British passport.
China prohibits dual nationality and the midfielder now has five caps for his adopted nation.
“To be honest, I’m not sure what the name means. I was given it when I moved here," he told The Sun.
“I didn’t actually know my name had officially changed until I arrived. It was a bit of a surprise but I’m happy and proud to have a Chinese name.
Nico Yennaris is now known as Li Ke
(Image: VCG via Getty Images)
Mirror Football email – sign-up for all the latest news and transfer headlines
Get the latest news straight into your inbox!
It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don't miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!
All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won't miss out.
To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
“Everyone says it’s a decent name. Li is quite a common name in China. I’m used to people calling me it now.
“Some people still call me Nico. Some call me Li Ke but it’s more fans who will call me by my Chinese name.”
Li was eligible to play for China by virtue of his mother, who was born there.
For most switching allegiances would be a difficult call, but not for the former Brentford man.
He made his debut in a 2-0 win over the Philippines last year and now enjoys celebrity status.
The midfielder was on Arsenal's books before moving to Brentford
(Image: Paul Burgman)
Li continued: “I was probably the most relaxed and most calm about it out of everyone. I think people around me were nervous because it hadn’t been done before.
“But my thinking was football-based: I was progressing and if that’s what it takes to play international football, let’s go with it.
“I just made my decision there and then. I didn’t really dwell on it. I wanted to play for China.”
The midfielder has enjoyed the fanfare and now has a fan club containing several thousand members who chat online.