Raheem Sterling has revealed why a tattoo of Wembley stadium on his arm is symbolic of the dream he's currently living out on the game's biggest stage.

Liverpool's winger has an image of a 10-year-old boy clutching a football and looking in awe at the iconic arch inked onto his left forearm.

Following on from his outstanding competitive debut for England in Saturday's narrow World Cup finals defeat to Italy, Sterling has revealed the meaning behind the design.

"I've got a tattoo of a young boy with a football in his hands, looking at the stadium, saying 'it's a dream', he said.

"Wembley was literally around the corner. I used to ride my bike round this little car park that was by the stadium. It's something that I've always wanted: to play for England and be the best I can be as a footballer.

"I used to say to myself 'one day, I'd like to play there, hopefully I could do that' and I am really grateful to be given that opportunity.

"I know there have been some great players who have played for this country so for me to be selected in the national team was a great achievement for me."

Sterling turned in a fearless performance against the Italians - one which belied his tender 19 years.

In doing so, he has captured the imagination of a nation.

"For any young lad to make an appearance in such a big tournament was a dream come true but when I was on the pitch I just tried to think of it as a normal game," reflected Sterling.

"To play in such a big tournament and to start made me feel a bit nervous at the time but I thought it was a great opportunity to go out and show the football world what I can do. Hopefully by the end of the game I showed some glimpses.

"I tried not to really think about the importance of the game and tried to express myself and do my best for the team but we were really disappointed not to get the win.

"There's no point trying to say it was an exciting game and we played really well when we haven't won the game."

Sterling was deployed in a role just behind Liverpool club mate Daniel Sturridge in Manaus.

However, with the ability to perform in several different berths, the Reds' No.31 has no real preference where he plays.

"I would be happy to play anywhere the manager puts me," said Sterling. "I am a team player. I will be working for the team regardless of which position I play in.

"I don't think the team was built around me necessarily.

"I just think the manager thought that was the right position for me at the time, with my pressing and my closing down."

Sterling's mobile phone was inundated with messages of congratulation in the aftermath of his display on Saturday - including a poignant text from his mum.

"Before the game she just told me to relax, not put too much pressure on myself and not beat myself up and try and do my best," revealed.

"After the game she dropped me a text and knew I wouldn't have replied until the next day because we lost. She told me to get over it as quickly as possible and move on to the next one and try not to make just the family proud but everyone in the country proud.

"She can be tough on me. She's said I didn't put the ball into the back of the net enough."