Soccer  

World Cup 2022: Wolves forward Raul Jimenez in Mexico’s squad despite lack of game time

Raul Jimenez Wolves
Raul Jimenez last played for Wolves in a 0-0 Premier League draw at Bournemouth on 31 August
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app.
Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

Wolves forward Raul Jimenez has been included in Mexico’s World Cup squad, despite not having played for his club since August.

The 31-year-old, who has been sidelined with a groin injury, has made four Wolves appearances this season.

Julen Lopetegui, the new Wolves boss, says he respects the player’s decision but is still “worried”.

“The most important thing is not the World Cup, it’s Wolves,” Lopetegui said on Monday.

Jimenez spent three weeks in Mexico last month as part of his rehabilitation and was named on the bench for their friendly match against Iraq last Wednesday, which Wolves were reportedly unhappy about.

The forward, who did not come on against Iraq, was at Molineux to watch Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at home to Arsenal.

With Wolves bottom of the Premier League having scored just eight goals, Lopetegui wants the striker fit to play a part for his club after the World Cup.

“I have spoken with Raul, I am worried about him because he doesn’t play a minute with his team, Wolves,” Lopetegui added.

“We need all of them but we need Raul fit and the best version. I hope he will come back here in this way. I respect the decision of the player and the coach but above all for me it’s Wolves.”

Jimenez, who has scored 29 goals in 94 games for his country, is the only Premier League player among Mexico’s 26-man squad heading to Qatar. Other high-profile names in the party include Napoli forward Hirving Lozano and Ajax duo Edson Alvarez and Jorge Sanchez.

Former Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez, 34, has not been called up to the squad despite scoring 18 goals for LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer last season.

Mexico squad

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Alfredo Talavera (Juarez), Rodolfo Cota (Leon)

Defenders: Jorge Sanchez (Ajax), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Nestor Araujo (Club America), Johan Vasquez (Cremonese), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey)

Midfielders: Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Charly Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Erick Gutierrez (PSV Eindhoven), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Edson Alvarez (Ajax), Orbelin Pineda (AEK Athens), Luis Romo (Monterrey)

Forwards: Alexis Vega (Guadalajara), Hirving Lozano (Napoli), Raul Jimenez (Wolves), Roberto Alvarado (Guadalajara), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Henry Martin (Club America), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey)

BBC Sport app banner

Get the latest results and goal notifications for any team at the Fifa World Cup by downloading the BBC Sport app: Appleexternal-linkAndroidexternal-linkAmazonexternal-link

BBC Sport bannerBBC Sounds logo

Get your daily dose of Fifa World Cup reaction, debate & analysis with World Cup Daily on BBC Sounds

Around the BBC footer - Sounds