Raul Jimenez Must Play for Wolves Before Going to Olympics, Says Nuno Espirito Santo

Raul Jimenez Must Play for Wolves Before Going to Olympics, Says Nuno Espirito Santo

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo said Mexican striker Raul Jimenez cannot be considered for this year’s Tokyo Olympics unless he first returns to action for the Premier League club.

Jimenez is recovering from surgery on a fractured skull suffered after a clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz during a match in November.

Mexico boss Gerardo Martino said last week he hoped Jimenez, who spent time with the team during the international break, would be available for the Games, but Nuno said the 29-year-old’s involvement would be determined by the progress he has made with Wolves.

“The moment it is clear he can play for Wolves then anything can happen but, first, he must play for us,” Nuno said ahead of Monday’s home game against fifth-placed West Ham United. “With all the respect to his national team coach, it’s our decision.

“I understand he is positive and wants to count on Raul for the Olympics but we have to be patient here. We have to make the right decisions, not make any kind of mistake and respect the doctors.

“He was delighted to be there (to train with Mexico again), it made sense. They protected him and he’s a more positive person. All his Mexican team-mates have seen him, asked all the questions, but they saw a good Raul and each day he was better.”

Nuno said goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who suffered a concussion after colliding with team mate Conor Coady during their 1-0 home defeat by Liverpool last month, is fit for Monday’s clash.

Joao Moutinho is a doubt after suffering an injury on international duty with Portugal.