By Noel Whelan

25th Nov, 2022 | 2:07pm

Pundit hits out at 'ridiculous' Raul Jimenez quotes after new Wolves development

Noel Whelan has suggested Raul Jimenez will come back to Wolves “fitter and stronger” following his involvement for Mexico at the World Cup.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, hit out at “ridiculous” comments from Julen Lopetegui after he insisted the 31-year-old should put club before country after his limited Premier League minutes this term.

Jimenez came off the bench to play 19 minutes as Mexico drew 0-0 with Poland at the World Cup on Tuesday (22 November).

That cameo appearance is the striker’s first since 31 August, with a groin injury limiting him to just 211 minutes of Premier League football.

Speaking about Jimenez’s call-up and quoted by the Daily Mail (14 November), Lopetegui revealed he is “worried” about the 31-year-old – before claiming Wolves are more “important” than the World Cup for the striker.

The Molineux club have a number of other attacking injuries, including Pedro Neto, Sasa Kalajdzic, and Hwang-hee Chan.

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Wolves sit bottom of the Premier League and are four points from safety after 15 games.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “I think it’s very unfair from Lopetegui.

“If anything, playing at the World Cup will help him come back fitter and stronger.

“You can’t ask a player to compromise playing on that stage, it’s ridiculous.

“He might not get another opportunity to do it. Jimenez is a great striker, and he’ll want to be part of it.

“I see this as a real benefit for Wolves and Jimenez. He can come back sharp and hungry after being out of action for so long.”

In other news, Football Insider updates as Wolves line up landmark hire after Lopetegui green light.