Nuno Espirito Santo says Raul Jimenez must play for Wolves before representing Mexico at Tokyo Olympics
Wolves head coach 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, live on Sky Sports.
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.”
Wolves v West Ham on Sky Sports
Rui Patricio is available for Wolves after being knocked out in a collision with Conor Coady in last month’s 1-0 defeat by Liverpool.
Nuno said: “In that moment it was scary, everyone was worried, he had to stay being assessed and was with the doctors and that made him not go to Portugal. He has trained well this week. Every time there is a situation like that, especially for us as we have trauma from before, it’s scary.”
Joao Moutinho is a doubt after picking up a problem while on international duty with Portugal but Daniel Podence is back in training following a groin issue.
West Ham could welcome defender Arthur Masuaku (knee) back into their squad for the trip up to the West Midlands.
The left-back has not featured in the Premier League since December 5 after surgery on a knee injury, but he is fit again along with Pablo Fornals, who was sidelined before the international break with a knock.
Hammers boss David Moyes remains without Darren Randolph (hip), Angelo Ogbonna (ankle) and Andriy Yarmolenko (knee) for Monday’s clash.
How to follow
Wolves vs West Ham will be shown live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 8pm; kick-off 8.15pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
- Download the Sky Sports Scores App: Apple | Android
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Jones Knows prediction
This is a tough one to predict. All three match result outcomes can be easily argued at the prices available. West Ham are 22 points better off than at this stage last season – the club’s best return after 29 games of a Premier League season. However, Wolves now look far more comfortable again in their own skin since reverting to a back three and will provide a stern test for the Hammers to break down.
Instead of the match result market, my eyes are drawn to the ‘method of the first goal’ market. A niche one, granted. I like the chances of the first goal coming via a header.
Set pieces are bound to play a huge part. Both sides have scored 36 per cent of their Premier League goals from set pieces this season (10 of 28 Wolves, 16 of 45 West Ham) – the joint-highest proportion in the league. West Ham are the top scorers from set pieces overall, Wolves sit fifth in that particular table.
With Tomas Soucek, Michail Antonio, Craig Dawson and Willy Boly all dynamite in the air, the 9/2 for the first goal to be a header looks overpriced.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: First goal method to be a header (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Pitch to Post Preview: Jamie Redknapp on Arsenal v Liverpool; Plus how do Man City replace Aguero? And crunch time for Newcastle
In this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp joins Peter Smith to look ahead to Saturday’s big clash between Arsenal and Liverpool. Could Jurgen Klopp’s side turn a frustrating season into a glorious one with a late top-four push and Champions League charge? Redknapp assesses their chances – and explains where they will have to strengthen in this summer’s transfer window.
We also hear from Sky Sports News’ Man City reporter Ben Ransom on life after Sergio Aguero at the Etihad Stadium and who Pep Guardiola and his recruitment team will target to replace the iconic Argentina ace.
Plus Sky Sports features writer Adam Bate examines Newcastle’s clash with Tottenham – two teams with lots still to play for during this run-in, and two managers who need a strong finish to the campaign.
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