Bruno Lage confirmed Raul Jimenez and his Wolves teammates who are heading off on international duty next week will all be available for Wolves’ first Premier League match back after the break.
Jimenez is set to join up with the Mexican national team in Mexico City, which continues to be on the UK’s red list for international travel, but fortunately for the striker and Wolves, the Government has reached a compromise with the Premier League which will allow players to avoid quarantining after returning to the UK, as long as they are double vaccinated.
With 100 per cent of Wolves players and staff having received both doses of the Covid-19 jab, every member of the squad – as long as they are fit – will be available for the visit to West Midlands rivals Aston Villa, meaning there will be no repeat of the last month, where Jimenez was not allowed to play for his national team due to travel restrictions.
On Jimenez playing for Mexico
“It’s very important for the players and it makes you proud when you’re in this profession, when you play for your club, but also when you play for your national team, for your country.
“It’s a proud moment for them and also for us. It’s proud for a club like Wolves to see 60 per cent of our team going on international duty, but we also have good solutions for when they return, they stay available to play for the club.
“Every player has been double vaccinated. All the players and all the staff. We have taken the good solution for everyone who goes. We are happy with Raul because he goes and he knows when he comes back, he can be available for the games.
“Our lives are about opportunities, so imagine the player goes to play for their national team and when he comes back he cannot play [because of isolation] or the manager gives an opportunity to another player and he plays well, and you lose your position.
“That’s why the most important thing for me is to find the best solutions for everyone because players should be able to play for their own country and also be available to play for the clubs when they return.”
On getting off the mark at Southampton
“I don’t see anything different from Raul because every time, the way he is, he comes and works hard every day. The way he scores goals in training is good for me because he’s scoring a lot of goals, and every day he’s trying to improve himself.
“For sure, this goal was important, not for us in the building, because we see Raul working, but for the fans because they see that Raul is back. It’s more about how he’s seen from the outside, because inside, I don’t see anything different.
“The only thing I say to him is that he scored one, and he should’ve given the other [chance] to Adama!”
On Jose Sa’s start to the season
“I knew Jose from Benfica. I didn’t have a chance to work with him, but I’ve followed his career. When knew when Patricio went, we need to find a good replacement, and he was the right man to come.
“Also, you cannot see one side, it’s with the help of John [Ruddy] because John is there every time, working hard to create the competition we want for every position. It’s important for us to see the goalkeepers, both understanding our game and the way they want to play from our back.
“I was a little bit upset with his first decision because he wanted to try long with Daniel and I talked with him at the break and tried to help, because if you go long, you need to find guys like Raul, Hwang or Adama, and not get Daniel to jump.
“We have two good goalkeepers and kids that are working hard with Tony [Roberts] to improve and they are working hard to understand the way we want to play.”
On Yerson Mosquera’s injury
“He is a wonderful kid. He gives us a lot of energy from when he arrived on the first day and I’m not happy with what happened with him because he deserves a lot, and we are here waiting for him when he recovers, to give him the chances he deserves.
“It’s tough, but every time he comes in with a big smile on his face. This is the kind of guy he is. He came from Colombia with a big dream and now two injuries have put him out of the pitch and out of training, but he comes with a big smile every day.
“We are here to support him and he’s a good guy. When you come with a strength to take this challenge and be better day by day, it’s not easy to get you down, and I can see that strength in him.”
On Pedro Neto’s recovery
“He’s working well, but he needs time. I talk with him and he wants to come as soon as possible, but at this moment it’s not a question.
“He needs to understand his body, understand what happened with him and he needs to go step by step, so when he’s ready to come back, he’s 100 per cent to help us.
“Of course [it can be lonely], so it’s important to receive him, he comes in, he gives us energy and all the players, the way I saw them talk with him, it was very good because the players are the guys who know their colleagues best.
“They know he’s an important guy, they know he can help us, so they are here and waiting for him and give him what he needs to recovery well.”
On Fabio Silva’s development
“Fabio is in my plans. What is important for someone of his age is not to run away from a challenge. The challenge is here.
“If you’re going to find the best solutions to play, you find comfort. But football is not about comfort. It’s about fighting for what you want, and in the end, it’s good when you get what you want if you’ve earned it on the pitch, training hard every day. This is not about Fabio, but in general, because Fabio works very hard every day.
“I have a past of working with young kids and I know they want things to happen very quickly. I’m 45, I don’t think I’m an old guy, but in my life, I’ve had to work for everything.
“Today, when you look at kids, everyone wants to put young players in their first-team but after they need to fight, they need to show me things first.”