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Saracens winger Chris Ashton wants to prove himself for club and country again after summer of recuperation
10:52am Monday 30th September 2013 in Sport
Saracens and England winger Chris Ashton admits he needed time to recuperate over the summer but is now determined to turn his form around after last season's disappointments.
Ashton scored the decisive try in the 22-12 victory against Harlequins at the Stoop on Saturday to continue an impressive start to the campaign.
The 26-year-old was handed some time off in the summer after being left out of the British & Irish Lions tour and rested for England's trip to Argentina but Ashton admits he has benefitted from the break and is now determined to turn his form around.
"Last year did not go the way I wanted it to and I was ready to change things. I like to think I'm starting to do that," he said.
"I wanted to be involved in the summer, but having a rest mentally was probably a good thing.
"It was time to sit at home and let other lads have a go.
"It gave England a good chance to look at some other guys. They played well and it was tough to watch, but I was glad to get the rest."
Marlon Yarde and Christian Wade both impressed for England but Ashton says he as hungry as ever to regain his place and get back to his very best.
Ashton said: "I was sitting at home watching the Lions and England tours and it was difficult viewing - that spurs you on that little bit more.
He continued: "I may have got down last year but it's rugby and I do it because I enjoy it.
"I had to get back to enjoying it and this season I am. It's always good to score tries, but I was just as happy with my game last week and the week before despite not scoring.
"I have tried hard to develop more of an all round game and not just be there for scoring tries."
Ashton's fellow Sarries winger David Strettle has also enjoyed a strong start to the season, scoring four tries in the first four matches.
Strettle laughed off suggestions of a try-count rivalry with Ashton and said his teammate's all-round performances have been excellent so far.
"Some of the things he does which when you scan over notes for a game afterwards you may not see on the score-sheet," Strettle said.
"But when you watch the video back you see it’s because of plays like he did and Jacques Burger and people like that who have smashed them down the game-line and turned the ball over."
Strettle continued: "We have a saying here ‘the things people don’t see’. And it’s true.
"You see a winger scoring a try in the corner and you can usually trace it back two or three phases earlier where someone’s double rucked or someone’s turned the ball over or someone’s run a great line holding two defenders.
"The winger scoring is usually a by-product of someone else doing something good."
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