Saracens flanker Kelly Brown tipping Chris Ashton to receive an England recall
Kelly Brown has backed his Saracens team-mate Chris Ashton for an England recall after a string of impressive displays.
Last Updated: 29/04/14 9:56am
Ashton answered his critics by scoring a brace of tries to set a new one-season try-scoring record in the Heineken Cup as Sarries dispatched Clermont 46-6 on Saturday to book their place in next month's final.
The 27-year-old, whose last Test appearance came in the 30-22 New Zealand defeat at Twickenham in November, has been left out in the international cold by head coach Stuart Lancaster in 2014.
But after spending two seasons of close-quarters work with the ex-Wigan Warrior, Scotland star Brown now 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.
"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."
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."