Raul Jimenez will miss Wolves’ trip to China after being given an extended break to try to prevent any burnout from his long season.
The £32m record signing has just finished a season lasting a gruelling 331 days, from his Premier League debut for Wolves against Everton last August to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final for Mexico against the United States in the early hours of Monday morning.
Jimenez, and Morocco international Romain Saiss, who played until last week because of the African Cup of Nations, will not report back until July 22 – three days before Wolves start their season in the Europa League.
Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo says each player involved in internationals after the domestic season has two weeks off, with the same applying to Portugal quartet Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota, Belgium’s Leander Dendoncker, Matt Doherty with Ireland and Morgan Gibbs-White, who was with England Under-21s. After their break, Jimenez and Saiss will work to their own programme as they strive to reach full fitness for the Premier League opener on August 11 at Leicester.
Jimenez has just had his busiest season, playing 57 matches last season for club and country, scoring 25 goals. That represented a considerable jump on only 29 starts in all competitions for Benfica (plus 72 as substitute) in total spread over his previous three seasons at the Portuguese club.
Nuno said: “For Raul, you look at him and you see last season he had a different season to the previous three he had before.
“It would be a big mistake, in our opinion, to force him and not give him enough time, not to completely recover, but to rest. We have to realise what we’re going to do. Raul and Saiss are going to be with us on July 22.
“We give the same programme to every player. Every player involved in the national team, after they’ve finished there, they have two weeks off.
“I think it’s important for him and Saiss. Morgan (Gibbs-White) only started working today (Tuesday).
“The Portuguese players and Leander Dendoncker started on July 1, we started on June 27. All these adjustments are required.”
Nuno added: “Now (in pre-season) is like filling up a bottle – each day that you don’t put a little inside you are going to miss it for the future.
“You have to work hard in the training session and prepare ourselves for what is coming in front of us.”