Despite recent controversy relating to one of Raheem Sterling’s tattoos, the Manchester City star has revealed that another piece of body art foresaw his wearing of England’s number 10 jersey.
Sterling has hogged the headlines for England in the build-up to the World Cup, after a tattoo of a gun on his leg was brought to light.
While some criticised him for the tattoo, he was quick to justify its presence by explaining that it was done as a tribute to his father, who was shot and killed when Sterling was a child.
The debate which followed is likely to result in all eyes being on Sterling in Russia, while fan expectations will be high given his brilliant campaign with Premier League champions City this season.
But Sterling, who was also singled out for joining up late with the squad, appears to be unaffected by the previous media storm and brought another of his tattoos to attention in the wake of being handed the 10 shirt ahead of the World Cup.
“I know I shouldn’t mention it, but I’ve got a tattoo of it on my arm,” Sterling told reporters. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do; wear the number 10 for England.
“I feel much more happy wearing that shirt and to be doing that at a World Cup with my country gives me that huge joy and feeling I can go and do well.
“It’s something [the number 10 role] I played as a kid. I was more central, then went to Liverpool and started watching these videos of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, started doing step-overs, started developing my game that way, when I was more in and around the box.
“I’ve played three, four games in that position behind the striker, and I feel we’ve done well.
“Everyone’s getting on the ball, everyone’s wanted to get on the ball, showing angles and making one- and two-touch passes. It’s been really fluent.”
Sterling was part of the England team which underwhelmed at both the last World Cup and Euro 2016, but he thinks he knows what they need to do differently this time.
“I’d say probably just controlling games and being a bit more arrogant with the ball,” he said.
“I’m sorry to say it, but being more arrogant and more streetwise because we are coming up against some great teams and other countries have that streetwise mentality.
“They bring their play into it – you do what you have to do to win a game. Simple as that. Be streetwise and clever.
“You watch the Champions League final and Liverpool go 3-1 down and the way Madrid control the game.
“They have that winning mentality in big games, not doing anything silly. Not attacking all the time. They see the game out and once we get that I think we’ll be a really good team.”