Change of club will not change view of Chris Ashton unless he develops some self-awareness
Let me state straight away that I like Chris Ashton; as a player he's talented, a finisher of rare quality (as 91 tries in 109 appearances for Saints testifies). He is decent value in interviews and a different character to a lot of pros who often come across as wooden. However, many others do not share this view, seeing the former RL man as arrogant and irritating.
Ashton has stated in a Telegraph interview that he is aware of this latter view and hopes that a new start at Saracens will give him a chance to change what he believes is an unfair perception.
“It does hurt that I’m seen as arrogant by some people and it’s beyond me how it comes to that at times,” Ashton says. “There’s nothing much you can do about perceptions apart from keeping on doing your best. I do care. I don’t want people thinking negative stuff about me.
"There was me, scoring tries, glad to be doing so, and then I’d get slammed for celebrating too much."
Ashton focusing on the 'Ash Splash' as a reason for many people's negative opinion of him is erroneous, most saw it for what it was - daft over-exuberance - and the witch-hunt that followed it at the time was mostly media created.
The statement that most undermines his attempts to change the attitudes towards him is, "it's beyond me how it comes to [being seen as arrogant] at times." Ashton's biggest flaw is that his level of sledging, mouthing and niggling goes up inversely to how he is playing in a match - the worse the performance, the more off the ball nonsense he engages in. He could dive over the try line all he wants if he shut his gap and cut out the cheap shots for the rest of the eighty minutes.
If this awareness is "beyond him", then a new shirt for next season will not be enough for a new affection from the rugby public.
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