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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Raheem Sterling in the firing line as critics attack Man City and England forward's assault rifle tattoo

Sterling posted a picture of himself training with his England teammates at St George's Park, with a tattoo of an assault rifle on the winger's right calf clearly visible

England's Raheem Sterling visibly showing an assault rifle tattoo on his leg during a training session at St George's Park, Burton. Nick Potts / PA 
England's Raheem Sterling visibly showing an assault rifle tattoo on his leg during a training session at St George's Park, Burton. Nick Potts / PA 

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling has been forced to defend his new tattoo of an M16 assault rifle.

Sterling posted a picture of himself training with his England teammates at St George's Park, with a tattoo of an assault rifle on the winger's right calf clearly visible.

Lucy Cope, who founded Mothers Against Guns after her son Damian was shot dead outside a club in central London in July 2012, said the ink was "totally unacceptable".

She told The Sun newspaper: "We demand he has the tattoo lasered off or covered up with a different tattoo.

"If he refuses he should be dropped from the England team. He's supposed to be a role model but chooses to glamorise guns."

But Sterling, who helped City win the Premier League title in April and is currently preparing for next month's World Cup, alluded to the tattoo having a "deeper meaning".

In a post on Instagram, the 23 year old said: "When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death 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 N [sic] still unfinished."

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Read more on 2018 World Cup:

Lowdown: Where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in Abu Dhabi and kick-off times

Lowdown: Where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in Dubai and kick-off times

In pictures: New captain Harry Kane leads England teammates in training session

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