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England forward Raheem Sterling says 'Don’t listen to the press'

Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- England forward Raheem Sterling says he doesn’t understand some of the criticism he receives in the British press.

The 23-year-old, who plays for Manchester City in the Premier League, has long been a target for the more sensationalist newspapers, and in the run-in to the World Cup he had to withstand fierce criticism and even calls for him to be dropped after pictures emerged of an AK-47 rifle having been tattooed on his leg.

Sterling explained the tattoo was in memory of his father, who was killed in a shooting when Sterling was just two years old.

In an interview with The Players’ Tribune on Friday, Sterling said the press had the wrong idea about the kind of person he is.

"There’s a perception in certain parts of the media that I love ‘bling.’

"I love diamonds.

"I love to show off.

"I really don’t understand where that comes from," he said, before giving some examples.

"When I bought my mum a house, it was unbelievable what some people were writing.

"I think it’s really sad that people do that.

"They hate what they don’t even know," continued Sterling, whose mother brought him to England from Jamaica when he was five years old.

"All I have to tell you is that 15 years ago, we were cleaning toilets and getting breakfast out of the vending machine.

"If anybody deserves to be happy, it’s my mum," he added.

Sterling started for England in their 2-1 win over Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday night and said that he had learned not to look at many of the stories written about him.

"If you grew up the same way I grew up you don’t listen to what certain tabloids want to tell you.

"They just want to steal your joy.

"They just want to pull you down," he said.

But despite the criticism, the youngster believes that his footballing achievements show it is still possible to be a success despite a difficult background.

"England is still a place where a naughty boy who comes from nothing can live his dream," he concluded.

The Three Lions face Panama on Sunday knowing a win will assure them of a place in the last 16 of the World Cup.



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