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Nuno signals welcome break for Wolves star Raul

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has welcomed an international break for Raul Jimenez – and said his remarkable record is all down to the striker.
Mexico coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino says all European-based players involved in the Gold Cup will be rested for the friendly at home to Trinidad and Tobago on October 2 and the four CONCACAF qualifiers against Bermuda twice and Panama twice next month and November. It means Jimenez will not be playing international football until next March.
The 28-year-old £32.6m club record signing has just returned from Texas against the USA – where he didn’t feature – and New Jersey, where he played the whole of the 4-0 defeat against Argentina, returning on Thursday before Wolves play Chelsea on Saturday.
Jimenez has scored 25 goals in 54 games for Wolves and played in all six matches as Mexico won the Gold Cup this summer, plus two warm-up games. His season lasted 57 games in 336 days, he has played 44 times in 2019 and he had just two weeks off before returning to play for Wolves in the Europa League this term.
Nuno said: “Raul plays in the other part of the world. It requires a lot from him. He arrived (back in Wolverhampton) on Thursday morning at 7am, but this is what you have to deal with, and you try to have everybody ready to go and you make the best decisions you can.
“But if the decision comes from Martino, we welcome that. It will avoid 10-15 hours on a plane, coming back with jetlag. It’s something he is used to, but each and every moment it happens, it’s tough.”
Jimenez has scored eight goals in 10 outings for Wolves so far this campaign and his record of virtually one in two games for the club is a vast improvement on his previous ratio for Benfica (22 in 101, albeit 29 starts) and Atletico Madrid (one in 28, six starts).
So what does Nuno put it down to? “I put that down to him – to the fantastic work that he does every day. It’s about him. Credit to him,” said the Portuguese.
“He’s doing well. He’s facing this situation in a very good way, knowing that it requires a lot from him. He doesn’t have a day off – he has to recover and play, recover and play. It’s tough on him.
“Having players in national teams is something we are proud of, and we have to deal with that because of the ambition of the player representing his own country. There is nothing stronger in a footballer’s career than to play for your country, and we have to respect it, whether it’s for a friendly or a competitive game.”
Wolves have had 10 players away on international duty and Nuno says decisions on their selection are only made the day before the game because the staff don’t know what condition players come back in until they see them train.
“We only decide the day before the game,” he revealed. “What affects decisions is you don’t know how they’re going to arrive, because some of them were playing two days ago, so you cannot decide based on that.
“Playing for national teams is good. Sometimes players come back better than when they went, sometimes not. So I think all the clubs in the Premier League face the same situation, that you honestly have two days to prepare for the game.”