Raheem Sterling has defended himself after coming under fire following the unveiling of a new tattoo of a gun on his right leg.
A photo shared on his Instagram page released his new ink to the world, depicting an assault rifle pointed down towards his foot. He has since received calls to have it removed, or covered up, with some even calling for him to be removed from the England team.
British tabloids including The Sun in particular have taken against the Manchester City winger over his new ink.
Lucy Cope, founder of Mothers Against Guns, told the paper that the tattoo is "totally unacceptable".
"This tattoo is disgusting. Raheem should hang his head in shame. It's totally unacceptable," Cope told the Sun. "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 glamorize guns."
However, Sterling took to Instagram to explain the meaning behind his tattoo, opening up on how he vowed to never touch a gun, and that his father was shot and killed by one when Sterling was only 2 years old.
He wrote on his Instagram story: "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. I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning.”
Despite his undeniable improvement on the pitch under Pep Guardiola over the last two years, several tabloid papers have insisted on attempting to create furor around one of England's top talents - with recent stories run on Sterling ranging from his breakfast habits to the cleanliness of his car.