Raheem Sterling reveals 'deeper meaning' for gun tattoo after criticism
Manchester City and England winger Raheem Sterling has explained his latest tattoo, an assault rifle on his right calf.
Sterling's choice of body art caused consternation among certain sections of the press, with one newspaper deeming his tattoo "sick" on its front page on Monday.
Late on Monday night Sterling updated his Instagram account with a picture of that front page and his reasoning behind choosing the tattoo.
"When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death," Sterling said.
"I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning."
Sterling, 23, is currently training with England ahead of their warm-up matches before the World Cup, the first of which is against Nigeria at Wembley this Saturday.
Despite a career in which seemingly innocuous behaviour, such as taking a budget airline flight, has attracted opprobrium from some quarters, Sterling has improved markedly in recent seasons.
He won the Premier League in a superb Manchester City team this season, during which he suffered racial abuse outside City's training ground, and looks a certainty for a place in Gareth Southgate's starting XI in the World Cup.
Sterling is due to enter the final two years of his existing City contract this summer but a deal to extend his stay with the champions has yet to be agreed.
It is thought that Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are watching him with interest, and Pep Guardiola has expressed concerns that he will not be able to hang onto one of the key members of his talented young squad.
“No doubt, it is so important [to keep Sterling]," Guardiola said in March. "But the deals are the deals. The agents, circumstances, maybe other clubs are interested in him.”