By Ali Stokes
Former England wing Chris Ashton is set for an early return to the Premiership in a bid for a spot in England's 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.
French media outlet RMC Sport broke the news last night that the 31-year-old had requested an early release from his three-year contract in Toulon to return to the Premiership and become eligible for international selection.
Ashton, who scored a hat-trick against England during the Barbarians victory at Twickenham last month, has not represented his country since making an appearance off the bench during England's 2014 tour to New Zealand under former Head Coach Stuart Lancaster.
With Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal notorious for high-priced demands for players wishing to cut their contract short, Premiership clubs will likely struggle to find the cash to spring the former Saints and Saracens wing from his spot in Toulon, having likely finished their recruitment ahead of the 2018/19 season over the past few months.
Fellow former England and Saracens wing David Strettle confirmed his return to Allianz Park earlier this season after spending the last three seasons with Clermont Auvergne.
As of yet there is no front running Premiership club reported to have shown interest in Ashton, who will be looking to add to his 19 tries and 39 caps for his country.
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