Raheem Sterling has opened up over his upbringing and the media’s perception that he ‘loves bling’.
The England attacker has been in the spotlight having dealt with unwanted and unwarranted front page headlines prior to the World Cup.
It is a distraction the Man City star has had to put up with throughout his career, which began as a youngster at QPR before he moved to Liverpool aged 15.
He then moved on to City, since when some sections of the media have unfairly targeted the 23-year-old.
Sterling has described the impact that coverage has had, as well as his joy at being able to repay his family for the sacrifices they made throughout his upbringing.
Writing for the Players’ Tribune, he said: “It’s sad that I even have to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway. 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. Especially 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.
“A few years ago, I would let it get to me. I’d be saying to my mum, “Why are they picking on me?”
“But now, as long as my mum and my sister and my kids don’t have any stress, I’m good.
“If people want to write about my mum’s bathroom in her house, all I have to tell you is that 15 years ago, we were cleaning toilets in Stonebridge and getting breakfast out of the vending machine. If anybody deserves to be happy, it’s my mum. She came to this country with nothing and put herself through school cleaning bathrooms and changing bed sheets, and now she’s the director of a nursing home.
“And her son plays for England.”