Ashton spurred on by missed tours
Chris Ashton believes he is beginning to rediscover the magical touch that deserted him during a challenging spell that put his England place in jeopardy.
The Saracens wing scored the only try in Saturday's 22-12 Aviva Premiership victory at Harlequins to sugar-coat another hungry performance.
Unable to secure selection for the British and Irish Lions and rested for England's tour to Argentina, he was picked for the most recent elite player squad on reputation after losing his mojo last season.
Following a summer of reflection, however, he is revitalised and ready to show the pretenders for his Test jersey - Marlon Yarde and Christian Wade - a clean pair of heals.
"I was sitting at home watching the Lions and England tours and it was difficult viewing. That spurs you on that little bit more," Ashton said.
"Last year did not go the way I wanted it to and I was ready to change things. I like to think I'm starting to do that.
"I may have got down last year but it's rugby and I do it because I enjoy it. I had to get back to enjoying it and this season I am.
"I wanted to be involved in the summer but having a rest mentally was probably a good thing. It was time to sit at home and let other lads have a go.
"It gave England a good chance to look at some other lads. They played well and it was tough to watch, but I was glad to get the rest."
Ashton's predatory instincts were evident at Twickenham Stoop when his perfect support line rounded off a brilliant passage of play.
It was only his second try in four matches, but he has generally been outstanding, working hard off the ball and putting gliding into try-scoring positions.
The ease with which he was skinned by Harlequins wing Ugo Monye after being caught out of position indicates his defence still needs attention, but the 26-year-old has otherwise made a promising start to the season.
"It's always good to score tries, but I was just as happy with my game last week and the week before despite not scoring," Ashton said.
"I have tried hard to develop more of an all round game and not just be there for scoring tries."