LIVERPOOL, April 13- Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is no stranger to the back pages, but he hit the headlines again for all the wrong reasons on Sunday after he was allegedly pictured smoking a shisha pipe.
In a photograph revealed by the Sunday Mirror, the 20-year-old is seen taking a drag from the large orange pipe – containing fruit-scented tobacco and smoked through hot coals via a tube – in a picture published in the Sunday Mirror.
Sterling recently snubbed a new £100,000-a-week contract at Anfield amid fears he could leave the club this summer.
Sterling, who has 14 caps for England, was snapped on a social media site with the picture captioned ‘1 down 3 to go’, suggesting there was more puffing in store for the youngster that night.
It is said that one single shisha session is equal to smoking around 200 cigarettes.
Having already irked certain Reds fans for refusing to dedicate his immediate future to Brendan Rodgers’ team after being offered the improved contract offer, he could again cut an unpopular figure for putting his health at risk during the Merseysiders’ run in to fight for a top four place in the Premier League.
However Sterling is not the first England international to be caught indulging himself in the increasingly popular fad.
Jack Wilshere became embroiled in his third smoking controversy in 15 months after a picture emerged of the Arsenal midfielder holding a shisha pipe at a nightclub in February.
The 23-year-old was recovering from ankle surgery after sustaining an injury during a defeat by Manchester United in November last year.
Choosing to keep his disciplinary plans private at the time of Wilshere’s misdemeanour, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was clear about his views on players that choose inhale potentially harmful substances.
“I disagree completely with that behaviour,” the Frenchman said.
‘When you’re a football player you are an example and as well you don’t do what damages your health.
“When you go out socially [and smoke] you as well damage your reputation as an example.”