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Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011

Charlie Hodgson to leave Sale Sharks for Saracens

Charlie Hodgson
Hodgson is the leading Premiership points scorer of all time

England fly-half Charlie Hodgson is to leave Sale Sharks at the end of the season to sign for Saracens.

The 34 times-capped 30-year-old, who is understood to have signed a three-year deal, has scored a Premiership record 1,753 points in 11 years at Sale.

"Saracens have great people and great plans," he said. "There's something special happening in north London.

"I am excited to be joining a club now recognised as the most ambitious and player-friendly in the Premiership."

Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall added: "As a club, we've been making massive strives over the past couple of years and the signing of Charlie Hodgson is another major step.

"He is a world-class player whose personality and ability ideally suits our environment.

We made it clear to Charlie that we wanted him to stay at Sale but understand his reasons for wishing to move on

Sale chief executive Mick Hogan

"Charlie was wanted by many leading clubs and we are delighted he has chosen to sign with Saracens."

Yorkshireman Hodgson, who joined Sale straight from university, helped them to the Premiership title in 2005/06 with victory over Leicester Tigers.

And, although Sale are struggling this season in 10th place in the Premiership, with just four wins from 12 matches, Hodgson said: "Irrespective of what has happened this season at the club I wanted a new challenge elsewhere.

"I am not getting any younger and wouldn't want to hang up my boots wondering whether I should have moved."

The Governor

Halifax-born Hodgson made his England debut in 2001 against Romania, scoring a record-breaking 44 points in a 134-0 victory, but injury has limited his international appearances since.

Hodgson underwent surgery in August last year on a long-standing shoulder problem, but played in two of England's winter internationals in September - as a replacement in the victory over Australia, before being injured in the defeat by South Africa.

Sale chief executive Mick Hogan added: "We are naturally disappointed that Charlie has told us that he will be leaving the club, but would like to thank him for all his efforts over the past 11 seasons.

"Without doubt, he will be considered one of the greatest players to ever play for Sale Sharks.

"We made it clear to Charlie that we wanted him to stay at Sale but understand his reasons for wishing to move on.

"We know what a difficult decision this has been for Charlie to make and the club are thankful for the early indication he has given us on his future."

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