Mallinder resigned to Ashton exit
December 29, 2011
Chris Ashton has been linked with a move to Saracens © Getty Images
England winger Chris Ashton appears set to leave Northampton at the end of the season with the player's agent refusing to negotiate a new contract with the club.
Ashton, 24, who has won caps 18 and scored 15 tries for England, has been heavily linked with a move to Saracens when his contract expires in 2012. Northampton chairman Leon Barwell has said he would not "throw money" at the England wing and Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has confirmed that the player's agent is refusing to discuss a contract extension.
"There's not an offer on the table, because his agent doesn't want to talk to us," Mallinder told the BBC. "We've not had discussions and I think his mind is elsewhere. If he wanted to stay, we'd talk to him.
"If any player wants to go, for whatever reason, whether that's moving to London, or a massive financial offer, we're not going to stand in their way. We'll shake their hand and we'll get players who want to play for Northampton."
Ashton is currently serving a four-week ban for dragging Leicester's Alesana Tuilagi by his hair during an Aviva Premiership clash earlier in the month. Mallinder insists Ashton will have to fight for his place when he returns after impressive performances from wingers Jamie Elliott and Russia international Vasily Artemyev.
"He's got to fight for his position on the field like everybody else and, at the moment, our wingers are doing really well," Mallinder said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery