‘Chris is an exceptional player’ – Eddie Jones


England head coach Eddie Jones has called Chris Ashton an “exceptional player” after including him in his squad for a pre-season training camp.

Ashton, 31, who has returned to the Premiership from Toulon to play for Sale Sharks this season, was named in Jones’ squad on Thursday.

The 44-man squad will convene at the Lensbury Hotel from Saturday, August 5 until Monday, August 6 with the free-scoring finisher in the mix.

“Chris is an exceptional player, I think we have seen with his form at Saracens, then at Toulon he has played exceedingly well,” Jones told England Rugby.

“He’s come back to England because he wants to play for England so he has got the right desire, the right attitude so it will be good to work with him.”

Three players from England’s World Rugby U20 Championship squad are also named with Jones looking for the stars of the future.

Harlequins wing Gabriel Ibitoye, Leicester Tigers back Jordan Olowofela and Saracens lock Joel Kpoku are all included, having featured for the U20s in the summer.

“It is an opportunity for them to show us what they have got,” said Jones. “We have identified those guys who can potentially play for England in the future so this is a great opportunity for them.”

Jones added of the camp: “This camp is all about individual preparation, it’s about looking to see how we can help each of the players improve, how we can help with their selection for the national team, because we have 44 players coming in plus another 15 who are strongly in contention for the Quilter Internationals in November.”