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After scoring tries for fun in the Premiership last season, Ashton shot to global attention when he ran the length of the field to cross the whitewash against Australia at Twickenham in 2010 before running in a record-equalling six tries during the 2011 RBS 6 Nations.
However, since the World Cup the tries have dried up and Ashton failed to score during this year’s Six Nations campaign under Lancaster but Bentley, the former England and Lions wing, claims there’s nothing to worry about.
“He had a whirlwind start and then Johnno seemed to take him to task about the manner in which he was scoring his tries but we need showmen in our sport,” said Bentley, an SSE ambassador.
“We’re in the entertainment business. You need people to perform and you need mavericks. Without mavericks you might as well not bother.
“Ultimately he seems to be back on track and I was pretty pleased by his performance in the Six Nations, I was impressed with the way he played.”
Bentley, who won the Premiership title with Newcastle in 1998, was impressed with Ashton’s attitude during the Six Nations and has tipped the winger to earn a place on the 2013 Lions tour.
“In terms of Lions selection he’s absolutely got the talent,” he added.
“I like him. He’s got good defence, far better defence that I had.
“He can spot players jumping out of the line and crucially make good tackles but ultimately it’s all about performance over the next few months.
“It’s about getting his head down and doing what he does best. If he does that he’ll get back to scoring tries.”
John Bentley is an ambassador for SSE Rugby, supporting community rugby clubs in England. Register now on www.sserugby.comto start benefiting from the support and resources on offer, and the chance to win £10,000 of free SSE energy credits for your club