Former England scrum-half Kyran Bracken believes Chris Ashton should be dropped for the Grand Slam decider against Wales.
The Saracens wing has struggled in recent weeks to recapture the form that saw him ranked as the one of the best wingers in the world back in 2011.
Ashton, 25, cut a forlorn figure during England’s 18-11 victory against Italy and, ahead of the crunch match in Cardiff this Saturday, Bracken believes now is the time to drop the former Northampton Saints star.
“The most important thing for this England team is to have everyone at the top of their game,” he told Full Contact. “He hasn’t played well in the autumn internationals and he hasn’t played well in the Six Nations yet.
“The one thing I don’t like to see is players being picked on reputations. He needs to be dropped, put on the bench or put out of the squad and told to work his way back up. He needs to get his confidence back.
“There are so many good players who are on the wing and playing well, Christian Wade for example, and, if I was behind someone like him and in good form I would be so frustrated.”
“The match against Italy was his last chance,” he added. “Mike Catt is pretty ruthless. He and the others would have got together and said, ‘we’re playing Italy, let’s give him one more chance. We’re going to go out there and he’s going to get a few opportunities [to impress]’. But that didn’t happen.
“He looks out of sorts. It would be disappointing to go into the Wales game and play someone who is well below par when there are so many good wingers out there. How long do you wait for a player to come back into form?”