Mexico boss hopeful to have Wolves striker Raul Jimenez available for Olympics

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Wolves striker Raul Jimenez is in “good shape” and could still make this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, says Mexico manager Gerardo Martino.

Jimenez has not played since he suffered a fractured skull in a sickening clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz at the Emirates Stadium in November.

But the 29-year-old has linked up with the Mexico squad ahead of Saturday’s friendly with Wales in Cardiff, although he has guarded against a setback by wearing a protective headband during team drills and skipped contact training with the rest of Martino’s men.

“Raul is good,” Martino said. “He’s training normally with us, apart from contact training. He’s not doing that.

“When there are some physical contact training exercises we get him training separately with another member of the coaching staff.

“In terms of how he’s progressing we are adhering to the protocols the Wolves team have given us.

“He hasn’t yet started to engage in contact training at his club, and we are monitoring him medically and training on the pitch. We are certainly responding to what his team wants in his training.”

Mexico are facing a busy spell with the CONCACAF Nations League, the Gold Cup and 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The Tokyo Olympics football tournament is scheduled to be held from July 21 to August 7 – just before the start of the 2021-22 Premier League season – and Martino confirmed that Jimenez is in his thoughts for that competition.

He said: “I think we need to see when his club will decide to play him, when he gets the green light from doctors definitively.

“If Raul doesn’t get back playing towards the end of the season I think that means we have much less of a chance of having him available.

“If he does there is a lot more time looking forward to the Gold Cup and the Olympic Games and him being available for those games.

“But of course it all depends on what happens at Wolves in the coming 50 days.”

Mexico are unbeaten in 10 games, nine of which they have won since their last defeat to Argentina in September 2019.

Napoli forward Hirving Lozano, Porto striker Jesus Corona and Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera are the headline Mexican acts in Jimenez’s absence.

“We have an obligation to look at all the players I can use,” Martino said of the Cardiff City Stadium friendly.

“It’s probable that (Gareth) Bale and (Daniel) James won’t play because they had an important game against Belgium and another one against the Czech Republic coming up.

“Because this is the middle game for Wales, I think the players who were involved in the last game will be rested and we’ll see some other players.”

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