Raul Jimenez will not be allowed to play for Mexico at the Olympics unless he first returns to fight for Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo has said.
Mexico coach Gerardo Martino is eager to take the striker to the delayed Tokyo Games this summer if he’s fit.
Jimenez is still recovering from the fractured skull he suffered against Arsenal in November, but is in light training with Wolves.
He bonded with Mexico during the international break as he returns to fitness. But Nuno believes Jimenez has to play before the end of the season to be in contention for the Olympics.
Molineux boss said: “I think he needs to join us, as soon as it’s clear he can play for Wolves, then anything can happen. But first, he has to play for us.
“With all due respect to the national team coach, this is our decision. I understand that he is positive and that he wants to count on Raul for the Olympics, but you have to be patient here. We must make the right decisions, allow ourselves no mistakes and respect the doctors.
“He was delighted to be there (on an international mission), it made sense. They protected him and he’s a more positive person. All his Mexican teammates saw him, asked all the questions but they saw a good Raul and every day he was better.
Nuno previously suggested he was confident Jimenez could return this season.
Nuno confirms Patricio’s availability
Wolves welcome West Ham to the Premier League on Monday. Rui Patricio is available after being knocked out in a collision with Conor Coady in last month’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool.
Nuno added: “At that point it was scary, everyone was worried. He had to stay evaluated and was with the doctors, which prevented him from going to Portugal.
“He trained well this week. Whenever there is a situation like this, especially for us because we have trauma from before, it’s scary.
Joao Moutinho is in doubt after spotting a problem while on international duty with Portugal. But Daniel Podence is back in training with a groin problem.
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