Ex-England star Chris Ashton released by Worcester after less than a year

Premiership outfit Worcester Warriors have confirmed former England winger Chris Ashton has left the club by mutual consent.

Ashton, 34, departs Sixways less than a month after Steve Diamond joined Worcester as a lead rugby consultant, having failed to make an appearance this season.

Diamond was director of rugby at Sale Sharks when Ashton left the club for Harlequins in March 2020, with the pair believed to have endured a frosty relationship.

It marks the third consecutive club Ashton has left mid-season, with question marks abound as to what lies next for the 44-cap former England star.

"Ashton arrived at Sixways from Harlequins 11 months ago but calf and knee injuries have prevented him from playing for Warriors this season," Worcester said in a statement.

"The daily commute from his home in Northampton had also proved challenging so the club and Ashton have agreed a release from his contract which was due to expire at the end of this season."

The rugby league convert and ex- Wigan Warrior leaves Sixways having scored one try in five appearances for Worcester.

He scored for the west midlands outfit before being sent off for dangerous play in a 62-14 defeat at home to former employers Northampton Saints.

Ashton needs to cross a Premiership whitewash on four more occasions to overtake Tom Varndell as the league's all-time top try-scorer. He currently has 89 scores to his name having represented five Premiership clubs to date.

Do you think Chris Ashton will break the Premiership try record before he retires? Let us know in the comments section.

Sale Sharks' incumbent director of rugby, Alex Sanderson, was a coach at Saracens throughout Ashton's five years at the club between 2012 and 2017.

However, Sanderson gave a dim assessment regarding Ashton's chances of a move back to the AJ Bell Stadium when he was recently quizzed on a potential reunion.

"I spoke to Ashy, and I know this in good faith because he still lives near St. Albans, he drives past the Saracens training ground and rings up [Saracens head coach] Joe Shaw and asks: ‘Do you want me to pull in?’ And they are like: ‘No Ashy, we’re alright, keep driving’," said the Sale chief.

"I don’t think we are the only club he has been knocking the door on. I’d love to see his career finish off well, I do (sic). I like the man but at the moment our books are full. At the moment I have to close the door.”

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