Sterling explains 'deeper meaning' behind gun tattoo

Raheem Sterling was criticised by some for a tattoo of an assault rifle, but the Manchester City star insists he would "never touch a gun".

Raheem Sterling says his controversial tattoo of a gun is partly a tribute to his father, who was killed when he was only two years old.

The Manchester City winger was criticised by some social media users and anti-gun campaigners after he was seen with an assault rifle inked on his leg during England training on Monday.

The 23-year-old moved to calm the backlash on his official Instagram page, though, explaining there is a "deeper meaning" behind the tattoo.

Sterling tattoo

He also underlined his vow to "never touch a gun" following the loss of his father, who was shot dead.

"When I was two my father died from being gunned down to death," he wrote.

"I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my lifetime.

"I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning." He added the tattoo was "still unfinished".

Sterling's father was reportedly killed outside the family home in Kingston, Jamaica.