Chris Ashton still has Northampton future - Mallinder

Jim Mallinder
Mallinder has overseen Ashton's development into an international winger

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says Chris Ashton has not played his last game for the club.

Saracens announced last week that they had signed Ashton for next season and the England winger was left out of the squad against Munster on Saturday.

"I don't see why [he would not play for Saints again]. He's contracted to us to the end of the season," Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton.

"I'm sure Chris is really keen to get back in the team."

The 24-year-old, whose deal at Saints expires in the summer, will join Sarries for the 2012-13 campaign.

Ashton has made 105 appearances for Northampton, scoring 95 tries, since his cross-code switch from Wigan in 2007.

"He's one player. There are a number of players who are disappointed that they didn't play this week," said Mallinder.

"Stephen Myler, who was man of the match last week, Tom May, who's played really well, Paul Doran-Jones. There's a number you can choose who, of course, want to start in the XV.

"What we have got to do, as coaches, is pick the best XV," Mallinder added.

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