Bruno Lage dropped Raul Jimenez to the bench for Wolves last time out against Aston Villa.

That was because he had a long journey back from international duty and Lage wanted to manage him carefully.

He barely got on even with Wolves chasing the game at Villa Park, with Daniel Podence and Fabio Silva introduced before him.

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Lage has spoken about Jimenez’s fitness ahead of the clash with Leeds and says it is not a foregone conclusion that the Mexican will be straight back in the side at Elland Road.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United - Premier League
(Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

As per the club website, he said: “We both agreed, me and the Mexican national coach, we don’t want an injured Raul. He managed well, Raul played 90, after 60 and after 30, but my concern is about the travel.

“He travelled and arrived on Friday, and when you look at him, he needs to recover and sleep. On Saturday, I looked at him and he said he feels OK, but I need to take my decisions.

“We need to take the best decisions. The best thing to do is day by day, we manage him, it’s important for us and Mexico. We don’t want an injured Raul. We want the best for him in the Premier League.

 

“It’s proud for us and the fans to see Raul play for Mexico at a World Cup. Let’s see [if he will play against Leeds]. He’s training, he feels okay, so tomorrow I take my decision. But he will travel with us.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United - Premier League
(Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

It could just be that Lage wants to keep Leeds guessing over his team selection.

Lage played a 3-5-2 with a fluid front two last time around and Leeds do not know if they will face that or a 3-4-3 with Jimenez as the focal point.

It would be a surprise if Jimenez did not come back in but it is understandable that Lage wants to manage him carefully.

Lage might not be bluffing, he may well want to make a very late decision on whether to include Jimenez in his starting XI.

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