Saracens winger Chris Ashton has said that he is determined to play international rugby again after a recent meeting with England coach Eddie Jones.
Ashton was excluded from Jones’ 32-man squad to tour Australia during the summer and has not played for England since Jones took charge of the Red Rose in November 2015.
Jones has been very honest about his reasons for omitting Ashton from his playing squads, claiming in May this year that the decision to leave the Sarries flyer out of the touring party to Australia was an “easy call to make” due to the 29-year-old’s defensive deficiencies.
“It wasn’t a tough call to make, it was an easy call to make,” said Jones. “Ashton has done well, but there are parts of his game that he needs to work on.
“Chris has scored a lot of tries, but there’s a part of the game where you don’t have the ball.
“I’ve had a chat to Chris about my decision and in my eyes he’s not in the top three wings in England.”
Ashton’s last game for England was a six minute cameo off the bench during their one point loss to New Zealand in June 2014, and with two years away from international rugby, the winger is more determined than ever to pull back on an English jersey.
“The main reason I came to rugby union (from league in 2007) was to play for England and that has never changed,” Ashton told the MailOnline via the official Six Nations website.
“I probably want it now more than ever. I’m desperate to play again. Especially when so many lads from here are playing.
“It would be nice to play with them on the international stage and have another go at it. It’s been a little while now.
“But I’d like to see if my game has improved and if I can still compete at that level. One hundred per cent I still feel I can. I believe I’m a better player.
Ashton was omitted from Jones’ 45 man elite playing squad for the upcoming season with Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson and Marland Yarde all picked ahead of the Saracens wing.
The former Rugby League star has 19 tries in 39 games for England, and despite being repeatedly overlooked by Jones, his desire has not been dented.
“I went to see Eddie last week and understand where he is coming from a bit more now,” Ashton added after he was excluded from the latest EPS squad.
“It was good to catch up. He didn’t have to meet me. We hardly spoke about rugby but he did tell me to carry on working on my defence and if that gets to where he wants it to be, then I’ll get my shot again.”
Ashton played the full 80 minutes in Saracens 35-3 win over Worcester at Twickenham on Saturday as Sarries look to defend their Premiership title for the third consecutive season.
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