With the preparations in selecting the England and England Saxons touring squads being finalised and released this week, there was one glaringly obvious name missing from both lists: that of Chris Ashton.
The in-form winger has been banging in tries for Saracens this season as they continue their marauding conquest for domestic and European glory.
There would have been a strong argument to have Ashton included in the first team squad heading Down Under to face the Wallabies, however, it is no secret that relations between Eddie Jones and Ashton are not all that rosy as Jones has stated his premonitions in selecting Ashton into the senior side:
He has done some good work. It’s all relative to the strength of the team you’re playing in and there are other areas of the game apart from scoring tries.
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
Apparently the youth and coach-ability of Marland Yarde made it an obvious choice to omit Ashton from the squad.
It wasn’t a tough call to make, it was an easy call to make. Ashton has done well, but there are parts of his game that he needs to work on.
Yet one would think that with a European Champions Cup medal already secured this season and the chance of adding Aviva Premiership gold this weekend, that that would warrant an England call up in some shape or form.
However it has been understood by BBC reporter Chris Jones that after being left out of the tour of Australia that Ashton has in fact turned down a place on the England Saxons squad.
After being left out of the tour of Australia, it’s understood Chris Ashton turned down a place in the Saxons squad for South Africa.
— Chris Jones (@chjones9) May 23, 2016
It is understood that Ashton (29), who made his last appearance for England in 2014, was originally named in the Saxons squad to tour South Africa but due to the disappointment of missing out on a first team call-up, declined.
Ashton apparently still holds a desire to play for England again and is willing to fight for his spot but fails to recognise the worth in lining out for a second string England team to face a South Africa ‘A’ side in a two test series next month.
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