Chris Ashton has come through 'unfair and unjustified' criticism to display form worthy of England recall, says Saracens team-mate Kelly Brown

Ashton has shone in recent weeks which included two tries in the Heineken Cup semi-final mauling over Clermont Auvergne

Saracens wing Chris Ashton has shrugged off "unfair, unjustified" criticism to hit top form demanding an England recall, according to team-mate Kelly Brown.

Ashton has been left out in the international cold in 2014, his last appearance coming in England's 30-22 New Zealand defeat at Twickenham in November.

The 27-year-old set a new one-season try-scoring record in the Heineken Cup as Saracens dispatched Clermont 46-6 on Saturday to book their place in next month's final.

Scotland flanker Brown admitted he thought Ashton was little more than a finisher when he arrived at Saracens from Northampton in 2012.

Following two seasons of close-quarters work with the ex-Wigan Warrior, Brown rates Ashton as an asset England cannot afford to ignore.

"It's up to the coaches of course but I think he's an incredible player," said Brown.

Humbling of Clermont is powerful painkiller for Burger and Ashton

"When he first signed for Saracens I thought he was a good player, I thought 'he gets on the end of things'.

"But I didn't actually understand the work he does off the ball until I'd played with him.

"He pops up all over the place, his work-rate's incredible; he's unbelievably fit, his defence is pretty good and improving all the time.

"He chases kicks all day and he scores tries, so it's brilliant to be playing in the same side as him.

"And I'm sure if he keeps it up he'll be back in the England side soon.

"From my experience he's a very, very good player, and I wasn't aware quite how good he is until I'd played with him.

"I just think he brings something a little bit different.

"I know there's been talk of England wanting something a bit different on the wing but I think he's the only player in England who plays the way he does.

"He follows things: he gets on the end of breaks, and in terms of stopping him, that's very difficult."

Ashton ploughed through England's 2013 RBS 6 Nations campaign clearly short of form and battling to regain full confidence.

Scotland skipper Brown believes Ashton copped far too much flak, but hailed his determination in shaking off his detractors.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has tilted his wing selections in a different direction since dispensing with Ashton's services, with Jonny May and Jack Nowell to the fore in the 2014 Six Nations.

Marland Yarde is widely regarded as England's premier wing, but has been hampered by injury this term, as has Wasps flyer Christian Wade.

Brown still believes fellow Saracen Ashton can state a compelling case to England coach Lancaster and force his way into the World Cup 2015 squad.

"It's been a test for him, because he has obviously taken a bit of criticism," said Brown. "Quite a lot of that is unfair and unjustified, but that's the challenge as a rugby player.

"Ultimately what's said about you doesn't matter: it's about making sure you keep on working hard, and striving to improve.

"And that's exactly what he does, he works hard every single week.

"On the first training day of every week he comes in and does a fitness session first thing in the morning, and that's something he doesn't need to do, but he's just striving to keep on improving and to keep getting better.

"I'm sure if he keeps going he can get back into that England mix."

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'