Wolves set to allow Raul Jimenez to train with Mexico as he steps up recovery

David Charlesworth, PA
·3-min read

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is prepared to let Raul Jimenez train with the Mexico team during the international break later this month as the striker continues his recovery from a fractured skull.

Nuno has already tipped Jimenez to return to action before the end of the season from an injury he suffered in a sickening clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz in Wolves’ win at the Emirates Stadium in November.

He has recently started training with his team-mates and, while he is not yet a full participant or heading the ball, he is taking precautions to guard against a setback by wearing a protective headband in the Wolves drills.

The club are holding talks with Mexico about the prospect of Jimenez joining them ahead of their game against Wales in Cardiff on March 27, although Nuno warned all parties must be on the same wavelength before anything is agreed.

“We’ve been talking with them – the doctors and everybody and have already spoken with Raul about that,” Nuno said. “He feels comfortable and I actually believe that will be good. But we have to make it work, not with mistakes.

“I think it will be good for him to join the Mexico squad to see his friends because it’s a big part of his life, the many friends he has are there so it will be good for him.

“We are just trying to figure out the best way to do that. We are taking these steps with Raul very carefully, but always with the intention to bring him back in the best way possible.”

No decision has yet been taken about whether Jimenez – who has scored 27 times in 86 appearances for Mexico – will wear his headgear when he is ready to make his comeback.

Petr Cech is the most obvious example of a player donning protective equipment following a head injury, but Nuno revealed Jimenez’s guard is more sophisticated than the one the former Chelsea goalkeeper used in his career.

“It’s much more advanced, it’s amazing what technology does,” added Nuno, whose Wolves side welcome Liverpool to Molineux in the Premier League on Monday evening.

“He feels comfortable in it, he’s able to do almost every action. We are on to the next step.

“Let’s see if it’s able to be applied in the competition. That’s the only goal that the gear has – to be useful in the preparation and the competition.

“But with Raul there are still a lot of question marks and a lot of boxes we have to tick.”

Jimenez bagged 27 goals in all competitions for Wolves last season and amassed seven in 15 appearances for club and country during this campaign before his accidental collision with Luiz.

According to Nuno, the 29-year-old’s outlook on his injury and his subsequent comeback to training has improved the mood at the club.

“It’s a big lift because he’s a fantastic boy,” added Nuno.

“With the serious situation he’s faced and the doubts, it was clear that he never doubted, he was always positive, he’s always with a smile, he’s always engaged to do things.

“That, by itself, is a big, big lift when you see someone with something so serious and he’s so positive about it all. Raul is amazing.”