Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session
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John Richards insists Raul Jimenez can still be key for Wolves after World Cup exploits with Mexico

Wolves legend John Richards says ‘top-class’ Raul Jimenez can still play a big part for this season.

The 31-year-old is now back with his Wolves teammates after Mexico were eliminated after the group stages at the World Cup.

Photo by Isaac Parkin – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Tata Martino’s side didn’t get out of their group, with Argentina and Poland advancing to the last 16.

Jimenez only made three cameo appearances at the tournament.

Ultimately, it came a bit too soon for him to have the impact he would have liked.

His inclusion by Martino was questioned by sections of the Mexican media. Some felt the manager should have instead called up the in-form Santiago Gimenez.

Jimenez is now in Marbella for warm weather training with Wolves.

On Friday, he played in a training game against Empoli, which finished 1-1. He played the second-half.

In the eyes of Richards, the £30 million star will hopefully ow kick on for Wanderers.

He wrote for the Express & Star: “He can get settled into the team and training and whatever way the manager wants to play.

Photo by Isaac Parkin – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

“That’s a positive to me, and he’s a key player for us. I’d like to think playing for Mexico, having a bit of a rest now, he’ll be raring to go, because he’s a top-class player, I’m sure once the goals start flowing he’ll be back to his normal self.

“That’s what we’re missing. It’s demoralising for the rest of the team, they know if we go one down in the current situation then it’s ‘where do we get a goal from?”

Jimenez has not played for Wolves since the 0-0 draw with Bournemouth at the end of August. That was only his fourth appearances of the season, and he has spent just 297 minutes on the pitch in total.

He had been named on the bench for the following game against Southampton. But he pulled out after his groin injury flared up in the warm-up.

Wolves will be just fine if Julen Lopetegui can improve Raul Jimenez, but it’s a big if

Jimenez’s form has not been good for some time now.

Fans would love nothing more than to see him get back to the level he was showing before his terrible skull injury.

But sadly, there has been no evidence so far that he’ll get there.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Lopetegui is a brilliant coach who has the potential to get him back on track.

But it may well be that Jimenez feels the time is right to move on. He has been linked with Club America, and a few teams in the MLS.