Southgate was addressing the media ahead of England’s friendly against Nigeria
Raheem Sterling has been backed by England manager Gareth Southgate over his decision to get a tattoo of a gun on his leg.
Sterling, the Manchester City forward, has been the subject of negative headlines in the days since he was caught on camera in training with the new design on his leg.
The 23-year-old explained the new ink in an Instagram post, revealing it is a tribute to his late father.
The Football Association has supported Sterling since the body art was highlighted, and Southgate gave vocal backing to the player on Friday afternoon.
The England boss said: “He knows he’s got our support, he understands how some people have perceived the tattoo. But in my view a tattoo is like any work of art. It’s a very individual meaning, the intent is all with the individual and the person.
“What has been clear by his own statement and his own experiences is that he is not someone who supports or wants to promote guns in the way that was perceived at first.
“It’s something he’s had to get on with this week but he’s a very strong individual and he’s looking forward to the game.”