sterling job  | 

Raheem Sterling presented with incredible portrait from young Irish artist

Artist said he was inspired by Sterling's performance during the Euros
Photo: scanno07/Instagram

Photo: scanno07/Instagram

Charlie Scanlon

Charlie Scanlon

Eavan Murray

Footballer Raheem Sterling was presented with a stunning portrait by a young Irish artist following England’s Euros defeat.

A beaming Sterling was gifted the painting by his media team after the artist, Charlie Scanlon posted it on Instagram ahead of the final.

Former semi-professional footballer Scanlon (23) has grown increasingly horrified at the abuse suffered by Sterling.

He was among three players to miss a penalty in the tense finale to the Euro final against Italy last Sunday night.

Mr Scanlon, whose dad is from Dingle and mother from Belaghy, Co Derry told the Irish Independent he is thrilled the tribute piece brought a smile to Sterling’s face.

Charlie Scanlon

Charlie Scanlon

“I was inspired by his performance and dedication throughout the Euros and frustrated by the hypocrisy of fickle football fans and national coverage," he said.

Mr Scanlon, who played for Nottingham Forest as a youth, said the abuse suffered by footballers is deeply harmful.

“The three lads who stepped up for England in the final, I felt so sorry for them.

“People don’t realise the pressure they are under at such a young age.

“The comments and the abuse they have received would be enough to turn a full-grown man over no mind a young 19-year-old boy that has only been in the limelight for a year. It’s horrific.

“I was watching it happen for a while and wanted to do something.”

Mr Scanlon spent upwards of 40 hours completing the portrait, which he created with an airbrush.

“To see him so happy is brilliant. It makes all the hours worthwhile.

“There was a lot of long nights to get it done in time for the final. But it was worth it.

“I released my painting on Friday just to highlight the abuse he had received and to try and make people think.

“Along with the portrait, I’ve created a video highlighting the controversies surrounding Raheem’s news coverage which has been extremely negative until he played on the international stage.

“His media team got in contact with me on Instagram; they were really blown away by the video.

“The beginning of it was a video of him being hated and slated in the media, and as soon as he started carrying his team through the tournament, everyone just loves him; I find it so fickle.

“With the amount of racial abuse players on the England team have received, the issue is so contentious and relevant.

“I’ve experienced it myself. I just wanted to bring to light the players point of view; the fans wouldn’t really grasp it.”

Mr Scanlon recalled for Nottingham Forest as a youth, and "even at that level, the fans would hurl abuse if you did something wrong – and you can hear them in the stands.

“The next minute if you make a good pass, you’re the best player again. It’s crazy.

“I have only been painting a year now, and to be able to work with such a big name is an honour.

He now teaches PE in a Leicester primary school, and knowing how children look up to footballers, he believes racial abuse of players needs to be stamped out.

“This is why this piece really means that much more to me as I know first-hand the pressures of playing football and the way children view these sporting icons.

“When you abuse a player, you are also hurting the kids that idolise them. So it has to stop.”

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