Raheem Sterling Defends Gun Tattoo After Criticism

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2018

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at The London Stadium, in east London on April 29, 2018. - Manchester City won the game 4-1. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling has defended the new tattoo of a gun on his right leg after receiving criticism in some quarters. 

The 23-year-old took to Instagram to explain that the image of an M16 assault rifle has "a deeper meaning" connected with his father's death, while he also wrote the tattoo is "unfinished."

The Press Association's Simon Peach relayed the full post:

Sterling's new tattoo was first noted after it appeared in another of his Instagram posts which showed him training with England:

It prompted a strong reaction, with the image being described as "sick" and calls made for Sterling to be dropped from the Three Lions squad in an article in The Sun (via Neil Henderson of the BBC):

However, many others, including Oliver Kay of The Times and former England forward Gary Lineker, questioned the criticism of Sterling:

The former Liverpool star is set to play a key role for Gareth Southgate's England side at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Alongside captain Harry Kane, Sterling is one of the few players who should be guaranteed a starting spot in the Three Lions' opener against Tunisia on June 18 after a fantastic 2017-18 campaign.

He played a key role for Manchester City as they ran away with the Premier League title, netting 18 goals and providing 11 assists in 33 appearances. 

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