Jamaican-born England footballer Raheem Sterling insists that his new tattoo of an assault rifle has “deeper meaning” amidst criticisms from anti-gun campaigners, who are demanding that the image be removed.

The Manchester City player on Sunday posted a picture of himself on social media site Instagram, training with his England teammates at St. George’s Park, with a tattoo of an M16 assault rifle visible on his right calf.

The post sent social media in a frenzy and became the highlight in many British tabloids, particularly the Sun which put the image on its front page today, with the headline: “Raheem shoots himself in the foot”.

Sterling took to Instagram to explain the tattoo’s significance.

“When I was two my father died from being gunned down to death,” the 23-year-old wrote.

“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,” continued Sterling, adding that the tattoo had not yet been finished.

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