Aviva Premiership
Mallinder resigned to Ashton exit
ESPNscrum Staff
December 29, 2011

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.

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