It makes sense to him - Danilo defends Man City team-mate Sterling

Raheem Sterling's choice of tattoos should be a matter for him and not media "tales" according to Manchester City defender Danilo.

Danilo and Raheem Sterling in action   -  Getty Images

Danilo has defended Raheem Sterling amid the tabloid controversy whipped up around his Manchester City team-mate's new tattoo.

Photographs of Sterling taking part in a training session with England this week showed an M16 assault rifle depicted in a tattoo on his lower right leg.

The Sun newspaper ran front page coverage of the photograph on Tuesday alongside an accompanying story where an anti-gun campaigner called for the ex-Liverpool youngster to be dropped from Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad.

Sterling responded swiftly to the story with an Instagram post where he explained the image was part of an as-yet unfinished tattoo paying tribute to his father, who was shot dead when the winger was two years old.

The Football Association and ex-England striker Gary Lineker were among those to offer backing to Sterling and now one of his Etihad Stadium colleagues has given support to the 23-year-old, stating his choice of body art is a matter for him alone.

"Many times in football we give too much attention to the tales," Danilo said.

"It is something that is up to him. It is something that he is feeling and it makes sense to him. I have nothing else to say about that."

Despite arriving from Real Madrid for £26.5million last July, Danilo was generally reduced to a back-up role as another expensive full-back acquisition, Kyle Walker, excelled on the right-hand side of defence.

Nevertheless, the 26-year-old relished playing under Pep Guardiola as City stormed to Premier League and EFL Cup glory.

"Playing in the position I do, it's important to play in a squad where the movement patterns are always the same, where you know pretty well where your mates will be during the game," he said, discussing Guardiola's much-vaunted tactical approach.

"This was essential for the season I had at Manchester City because Guardiola is someone who is really strict on the tactical system, he is near excellence in this.

"A high level of turnover [in the positions of] players and playing high lines is something I love because it makes my way of playing stronger."

Danilo believes he made clear progress as his maiden season in England went on and sees no reason to seek a move elsewhere

"Even though I played a lot, the first six months were for me to adapt," he explained. "The Premier League is a high-intensity league. In terms of physical contact it is different from everything I've already been a part of.

"In the second half of the season, I was more at home, stronger, better and it was then that I could perform my best in all the games I played.

"Then I got to the end of the season with five or six straight matches at a high level. I'm satisfied with my season at City. We won the Premier League and broke records from years ago.

"I don't want to stop this. My work from now on is to be settled, play as many matches as I can and keep enjoying football."

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