Northampton Saints 24-3 Harlequins, Aviva Premiership
Ashton hints at Saints exit
ESPNscrum Staff
January 6, 2012
Northampton's Chris Ashton takes a breather, Northampton Saints v Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, January 6, 2012
Northampton winger Chris Ashton returned to action against Quins following his recent suspension © Getty Images

England winger Chris Ashton refused to rule out a possible move from Northampton to Saracens - just moments after his side's 24-3 demolition of Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins.

Ashton has been linked with the move for some time, and he admitted he was still making up his mind about where his future lies. He said: "This is the club that brought me to rugby union and I owe this club a lot. I love the lads here and I love this club. It's been a tough time for me recently on and off the pitch, so I'm just glad to be back on the field and I want to start enjoying my rugby again.

"A lot has gone on and I have had quite a few distractions. Over the last four weeks I haven't really looked at a contract, I've just been concentrating on getting fit. I'm sure Jim [Mallinder] would like a decision from but I am just going to take a few weeks to look on it and take a decision from there. I don't want to rush into it. I still love this club and I'm not saying I don't want to be here."

Saints head coach Jim Mallinder said he wanted Ashton to stay but was already considering his options for replacing the England flyer. "Obviously we're looking at other options. I'd love him to stay, but I've said it before: you only want players who want to play for you.

"If he wants to go elsewhere then no problem. He's very determined and wanted to play. He came to see me and we had a good chat about it. He's been disappointed in his rugby this year and he wants to start playing well. We've coped quite well without him recently, and if Chris decides he wants to go then we'll cope without him."

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