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Ashton to leave Saracens for Toulon

Chris Ashton is on the move. Credit: PA

Winger Chris Ashton will leave Saracens to join Toulon at the end of the season it has been announced.

I’d like to put on record my thanks to Mark McCall, Nigel Wray and the whole team at Saracens for the manner in which they have dealt with my request to join Toulon next season. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Allianz Park and I have made so many special memories on and off the field.

I have developed as a player during my time with Sarries but more importantly I have developed as a person, and I will always be indebted to the Club for that.

There is a tremendous culture at Saracens and the bond between everyone here is very tight. It will be a real wrench for me to leave all that behind at the end of the season but I’m looking forward to a new challenge at Toulon next year. My focus now is helping the squad prepare for Leicester Tigers on Saturday, contribute to the side when I return to action later this year and hopefully make a few more memories together in a black and red shirt.

– Chris Ashton

Moyes thinks cup run can aide failing Sunderland

David Moyes is yet to win a league game as Sunderland boss. Credit: PA

David Moyes is hoping an extended EFL Cup run can revive Sunderland's Premier League fortunes just as it did three seasons ago.

Then head coach Gus Poyet guided the Black Cats to the League Cup final in March 2014 and although they lost 3-1 to Manchester City at Wembley, they finished the campaign with a momentum which brought them four league wins in the last five games and saw them finish in 14th place, five points clear of the drop zone.

Current boss Moyes takes his beleaguered side to Southampton on Wednesday evening having collected just two of the first 27 points on offer and sitting at the foot of the table.

Look, I genuinely want to go and get through. It's a tough game, a tough draw for us to go away to Southampton. I think if we were at home we would be saying 'We'll have a bit of that'.

But going to Southampton, the form they are in at the moment... I don't know what they'll do, but they have had a really busy schedule with being in Milan, being at Manchester City.

They have got a good squad, they have got good players, but my feeling is they will probably change their team as well.

– David Moyes


Leicester and England striker nominated for Ballon d'Or

Jamie Vardy has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or award alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale after helping Leicester win the Premier League title.

Vardy enjoyed a stunning campaign with Leicester. Credit: PA

The 29-year-old striker, who scored 24 goals in a historic season for the Foxes, was named on a 30-man list of nominees for the prestigious award, which is currently held by Barcelona star Messi.

France Football, the sole organisers of the prize given to the best footballer in the world following a split from FIFA, revealed Vardy was in contention in a tweet published on Monday evening.

The Sheffield-born player is the only Englishman nominated, while Real Madrid's Bale represents Wales after his heroics at Euro 2016.

Vardy is not the only Leicester player whose achievements have been recognised, however. Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez - the PFA Players' Player of the Year - is on the shortlist.

Manchester City and city rivals United will hope Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba threaten the top three when journalists begin the next round of voting, while West Ham's free-kick specialist Dimitri Payet and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris are also contenders.

Regular victors Messi and Ronaldo - the latter having endured a lean year by his usual prolific standards - will face stiff competition from the likes of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Robert Lewandowski.

Breakthrough stars Paulo Dybala, Antoine Griezmann and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will provide further cause for concern to the world game's established top order.

Among the surprise omissions from the list are Manchester United keeper David De Gea, Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil and Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci.

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