Raul Jimenez is back! Wolves striker returns to the starting XI to play pre-season friendly vs Crewe

Sports

Daily Mail 17 July, 2021 - 10:54am 20 views

By Max Mathews For Mailonline

Raul Jimenez sported a protective headguard as the Wolves striker made his long-awaited and emotional return to football, 230 days after fracturing his skull against Arsenal last season. 

The talismanic striker clashed heads with Gunners defender David Luiz in November last year and was immediately rushed to hospital following the sickening clash at the Emirates Stadium. 

The 30-year-old Mexican was treated for severe trauma, and was eventually judged to be conscious, although he fractured his skull in the incident. 

Wolves' Raul Jimenez made a long-awaited return from injury against Crewe on Saturday

The talismanic striker was out for 230 days after clashing heads with Arsenal's David Luiz (left)

That ended his season – and threatened to prematurely end his career – while Wolves struggled to replace him up front, trying teenager Fabio Silva and loanee Willian Jose as a forward, without significant success.

But now, after 230 days, Wolves announced via the club's official Twitter account that Jimenez has now returned to the starting XI in a pre-season friendly against Crewe Alexandra.

Their post read: 'We have some big news...' followed by a wolf and Mexican flag emoji and a 'Jimenez is back' graphic.

The Mexican returned to the West Midlands' side's XI alongside youngster Fabio Silva

Jimenez spent time in his home country during the off-season, with those Wolves players not playing for their countries this summer returning for pre-season training on July 5.

There were initial fears the 30-year-old would never be able to play again, like Ryan Mason, who retired after a head injury.

But after returning to training in March, Jimenez was told in May he was able to head the ball again and participate in full training sessions. 

Against Crewe Jimenez was sporting a black headband to help protect his head - a move approved by the Premier League - and the club say he will wear that for the remainder of his career. 

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Watch Wolves vs Crewe LIVE

wolves.co.uk 17 July, 2021 - 01:10pm

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Crewe 1 Wolves 0 - Report

expressandstar.com 17 July, 2021 - 01:10pm

Wolves began their pre-season schedule with a 1-0 friendly loss to Crewe Alexandra - as Raul Jimenez made his return from injury after 230 days on the sidelines.

In his first game in charge Bruno Lage named a strong team but in the blazing heat they failed to get going.

Young midfielder Taylor Perry was arguably Wolves’ best player in a drab first half showing in which Crewe looked most lively.

After introducing eight academy players at half-time, the youngsters started poorly and quickly fell behind from a Christopher Long tap-in.

The much-changed Wolves side did begin to look after the ball better as the half progressed, but failed to threaten going forward and were condemned to defeat on their first pre-season outing.

Lage named a largely experienced starting XI for his first Wolves game in charge, opting for a 4-4-2 formation.

With several first-team players yet to join the group following the European Championships, and Jonny Castro Otto, Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence injured, Lage did start several of the stars available to him.

Francisco Trincao, who recently signed on-loan from Barcelona, lined up alongside Fabio Silva and Jimenez - who made his return following an eight-month lay-off due to his fractured skull injury.

Youngster Perry also started in midfield just two weeks after signing a new two-year deal.

Wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri started at left-wing, with Fernando Marcal at left-back.

On an extremely warm afternoon at The Alexandra Stadium the hosts welcomed Jimenez back to a football field with a special message from the stadium announcer - which was applauded by the Crewe fans.

A small number of Wolves supporters had also made their way inside and were making themselves heard as the game got underway.

Lage’s men started the game brightly and were aggressive in attacking areas, with many of the forward-thinking players playing high up the pitch. After five minutes Ait-Nouri turned superbly in midfield and fed Silva. The striker looked for his partner Jimenez in the box but the ball was intercepted.

The hosts did not sit back either, however, and had some opportunities of their own. Most notably, Charlie Kirk arrived at the back post to meet a free-kick but his half-volley flew over the bar.

Perry was impressing in the middle of the park for Wolves with some handy ball distribution and confidence in possession. His midfield partner Morgan Gibbs-White was having less joy, however, with a few slack touches. He was fortunate not to be booked too when he dragged Callum Ainley back as he raced down the wing.

A drinks break for both teams then followed as they battled with the soaring temperatures.

With the game back underway a lack of communication between Marcal and John Ruddy allowed Owen Dale a free header at the back post, but the goalkeeper recovered to make a save.

An effort from Long then flashed wide as Crewe asserted some dominance at the 30th minute mark.

Despite that, Wolves almost took the lead when Jimenez’s deflected free-kick from 25 yards wrongfooted goalkeeper Dave Richards and clipped the crossbar on it’s way over.

After 34 minutes the Mexican striker was then substituted, marking a successful comeback from his injury. Patrick Cutrone replaced him.

The Italian forward should have scored when he was played through on goal and, when on the stretch, he reached the ball before Richards. But the goalkeeper was able to save.

That was the last action of the half as Wolves entered the break drawing 0-0.

Lage made eight changes to his side at half-time, giving many of his youngsters a chance to impress. Only Ruddy, Max Kilman and Cutrone stayed on the field from the first half as they continued with the 4-4-2 formation.

Within minutes Cutrone had a chance to score, too. He was handed the ball on a plate inside the box by Renat Dadashov but his deflected effort blazed over the bar.

After 53 minutes Crewe took the lead. Wolves switched off from a short corner and after Kirk got beyond Hugo Bueno and raced into the box, he crossed for Long who tapped home from two yards. The defending was far too pedestrian from Wolves who reacted slowly.

Despite the poor start to the half Wolves’ youngsters began to see more of the ball after 65 minutes. Kilman, with his last action before coming off for Romain Saiss, produced a delightful cross-field ball for Jack Scott who took the ball down well. He then crossed for Dadashov who had his shot blocked.

Crewe should have doubled their lead when Oli Finney got the better of Owen Otasowie and rounded Ruddy, but after delaying his shot his eventual effort was blocked by Scott.

Eventually Wolves did test Jaaskelainen as the goalkeeper got down well to deny Cutrone.

But in the end they failed to breakthrough and Wolves fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Crewe: Richards (Jaaskellainen, 62), Ramsay, Adebisi (Sass-Davies, 62), Murphy (Griffiths, 62), Hoban (Johnson, 62), Offord (Daniels, 62), Ainley (Lundstram, 62), Finney, Long, Kirk (Robbins, 62), Dale.

Wolves: Ruddy, Hoever (Scott, 45, Lonwijk, 88), Boly (Marques, 45), Kilman (Saiss, 66), Marcal (Bueno, 45), Trincao (Cundle, 45), Gibbs-White (Otasowie, 45), Perry (Estrada, 45), Ait-Nouri (Campbell, 45), Silva (Dadashov, 45), Jimenez (Cutrone, 34, Samuels, 88)

By Liam Keen

Wolves correspondent at the Express & Star.

Matchday Blog | Crewe 1-0 Wolves

wolves.co.uk 17 July, 2021 - 01:10pm

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Premier League: Jimenez back, Pulisic scores; Arsenal, Spurs draw (video)

NBC Sports 17 July, 2021 - 01:05pm

Chelsea beat Peterborough United, Wolves lost to Crewe Alexandra and Arsenal drew with Glasgow Rangers, with Tottenham drawing at neighbors Leyton Orient.

The main takeaways from all of that is: a) Christian Pulisic scored a penalty kick for Chelsea. b) Raul Jimenez returned to action for the first time in eight months after he suffered a fractured skull.

Jimenez returning is a huge story and the El Tri star wore a protective head guard as he continues to step up his remarkable recovery.

Below are some more details from the Premier League teams in preseason action.

A very informal behind-closed-doors friendly took place at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground as Hakim Ziyech scored a hat trick, Christian Pulisic won and scored a penalty kick, plus Tammy Abraham and Armando Broja also scored against Championship new boys Peterborough.

Pulisic started and played the first 45 minutes as the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Baba Rahman, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher all featured, as Thomas Tuchel will be waiting a long time for Chelsea’s EURO 2020 stars to return to preseason.

📸 @cpulisic_10 📸 pic.twitter.com/QaPYRK67oR

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 17, 2021

Okay, so not a great result for Wolves as Christopher Long scored the only goal of the game for the League One side, but this was all about Raul Jimenez.

His miraculous return to the pitch after a fractured skull last November was the major moment as new Wolves boss Bruno Lage took charge of his first game. Jimenez started the game and then came off as a sub, with the El Tri star hitting the crossbar with a deflected free kick.

Mexico and Wolves fans, and all fans, will be delighted to see Jimenez return to the pitch as his lengthy recovery reached a major milestone.

Next up: Jimenez back playing, and scoring, in the Premier League.

Eight months of hard work and rehabilitation have led to this moment.

We're all proud of you, @Raul_Jimenez9, and so pleased to see you back out there.

🐺 pic.twitter.com/bRhLZ3IFiU

— Wolves (@Wolves) July 17, 2021

The Gunners continue to struggle a little in preseason as they’ve now lost to Hibernian and drawn at Rangers in their two friendlies so far. Balogun put Rangers ahead but new signing Nuno Tavares equalized.

Rangers took the lead in the second half through Itten but Eddie Nketiah equalized late on as Mikel Arteta’s side continue to ramp up preparations for the new season without a few key players, but they’re only missing a handful of stars…

💬 "He's only been with us a few days but you can already see his qualities…"@m8arteta reacts to Nuno's goalscoring start to life at Arsenal 👇

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 17, 2021

Nuno Espirito Santo took charge of his first game as Spurs boss and as an inexperienced side drew at League Two Orient. Ruel Sotiriou equalized for Leyton Orient after young striker Dane Scarlett slotted home calmly.

Cool as you like from @DScarlett09! ❄️

Watch the game live below ⤵️

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 17, 2021

Joe Hart, Eric Dier, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Harry Winks, Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn all started, as Santo brought on plenty of subs and he of course is missing several key players due to the international action. Here’s what Nuno had to say.

🗣 It's time to hear from the boss! pic.twitter.com/BPvY6Xg9ur

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 17, 2021

Jimenez plays 30 minutes in Wolves friendly eight months after fracturing skull

The Athletic 17 July, 2021 - 01:01pm

Raul Jimenez has returned to football eight months after fracturing his skull in a Premier League match against Arsenal.

Jimenez started for Wolves in a pre-season friendly against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday afternoon and was substituted after half an hour.

He almost scored on his return to action, striking the bar with a 30-yard free-kick before being replaced by Patrick Cutrone in what appeared to be a pre-planned change. Wolves lost the match 1-0.

Jimenez suffered the injury after a clash of heads with Arsenal’s David Luiz last November and there were initial fears that he would be unable to play again.

After returning to training in March, the 30-year-old was told in May he could head the ball again and take part in full training.

In May, tests confirmed this from this month onwards Jimenez would undergo “further match-based rehabilitation”, which Wolves said would be tightly controlled.

Jimenez has been given approval by the Premier League to wear a protective headband during matches. He’s been sporting it in training and the club say he will wear it for the rest of his career.

The Mexico international has been training with Wolves under new manager Bruno Lage as they prepare for the 2021-22 season.

The football benefits of Jimenez returning are obvious but first and foremost it’s wonderful and heartening news to hear that he can just return to a football pitch again and do what he loves doing. It shouldn’t be forgotten he had life and career-saving surgery after the horrific incident.

It’s been a hugely worrying few months for Jimenez, his family and everyone associated with the club. This is the news everyone wanted.

From a football perspective, Jimenez is also vital to Wolves.

He was the club’s leading scorer in the last two seasons, finding the back of the net in the Premier League on 13 then 17 occasions. Prior to his injury, Jimenez had scored four goals in 10 appearances during the 2020-21 campaign.

Wolves struggled in front of goal in the striker’s absence — failing to score in 12 Premier League matches last season.

Wolves were sixth in the table when Raul Jimenez suffered his fractured skull against Arsenal in late November, four points off the leaders

A client of Jorge Mendes, Lage has been touted as a possible successor to Nuno ever since Wolves considered sacking their now former boss

Post-Nuno Espirito Santo, technical director Sellars is now front and centre at Wolves overseeing recruitment, analysis and the academy

Wolves were sixth in the table when Raul Jimenez suffered his fractured skull against Arsenal in late November, four points off the leaders

A client of Jorge Mendes, Lage has been touted as a possible successor to Nuno ever since Wolves considered sacking their now former boss

Post-Nuno Espirito Santo, technical director Sellars is now front and centre at Wolves overseeing recruitment, analysis and the academy

Raul Jimenez: Wolves striker plays first game since fracturing skull

Sky Sports 17 July, 2021 - 12:35pm

Jimenez played from the start and was substituted after 34 minutes in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Crewe Alexandra at the Mornflake Stadium.

The Mexico striker clipped the crossbar with a deflected free kick but failed to score in his first outing for eight months.

New Wolves boss Bruno Lage also gave a debut to Francisco Trincao following his move from Barcelona.

Jimenez, who now wears a specially-designed headguard for heading, full-contact training and matches, had returned to full pre-season training on Monday.

The Mexico international was cleared to train fully back in May but had to wait until this week to be reunited with team-mates and meet new head coach Bruno Lage.

The 30-year-old received on-field treatment for 10 minutes and was carried off on a stretcher after an accidental clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz last year.

He was given oxygen on the pitch before being taken to St Mary's Hospital Paddington, where he had emergency surgery for a major traumatic brain injury (TBI) and skull fracture.

Wolves signed Jimenez for £30m from Benfica in August 2019 after an initial season-long loan and he signed a new four-year deal last October.

He has scored 48 goals in a total of 110 appearances for the club in all competitions, netting four times in nine Premier League appearances last season before his injury.

Video: Raul Jimenez marks Wolves return in pre-season friendly

101 Great Goals 17 July, 2021 - 10:44am

Heartwarming footage of Raul Jimenez taking to the pitch ahead of kick-off in Wolves’ friendly meeting with Crewe Alexandra has come to the fore online this evening.

Hitman Jimenez was of course at the heart of one of the more harrowing moments of the most recent Premier League campaign.

A trip to North London to face Arsenal saw the 29-year-old involved in a horrific clash of heads with David Luiz, a coming together which left Jimenez knocked out cold on the Emirates turf.

After being stretchered from the pitch and taken to hospital, it was subsequently confirmed that the Wolves star had suffered a fractured skull.

Messages of support quickly poured in, as fans and players alike came together to wish Jimenez a speedy recovery.

Thankfully, the subsequent news to have emerged over the months since Jimenez’s accident have, all told, proven of a positive nature.

Speaking back in March, for example, Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed that the former Benfica man had begun to participate in the basic elements of Wolves’ training sessions:

And, as outlined above, on Saturday, the moment which Wolves fans across the globe had no doubt been waiting for has too been forthcoming.

Bruno Lage’s men are currently locked in a friendly meeting with League One outfit Crewe Alexandra, as part of the club’s pre-season preparations.

It is not the action itself at Gresty Road, however, which has thus far grabbed the headlines. Instead, it has been a memorable moment for the aforementioned Jimenez.

The Mexican, following a layoff spanning almost eight months, has on Saturday officially marked his return to the pitch:

Eight months of hard work and rehabilitation have led to this moment.

We’re all proud of you, @Raul_Jimenez9, and so pleased to see you back out there.

🐺 pic.twitter.com/bRhLZ3IFiU

— Wolves (@Wolves) July 17, 2021

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Jimenez makes first Wolves appearance since suffering fractured skull | Goal.com

Goal.com 17 July, 2021 - 08:45am

Raul Jimenez is back in the Wolves team for the first time since suffering a fractured skull in November.

The Mexico international has been included in the starting XI for the Premier League side's friendly against Crewe Alexandra. 

The match is Wolves' first under new coach Bruno Lage, who took charge this summer after Nuno Espirito Santo's departure.

Jimenez sustained a fractured skull in late-November after clashing heads with David Luiz during a Premier League clash against Arsenal.

He required emergency surgery on the injury and the 30-year-old was not cleared to resume full training with his team-mates until May.

Jimenez will have to wear a headguard specially designed to protect him during training sessions and matches.

The forward has had to miss out on a place in Mexico's team for the 2020 Olympics, despite coach Gerardo Martino suggesting in May that he could be included.

The centre-forward joined Wolves on an initial loan deal from Benfica in 2018, eventually sealing a permanent move for £30 million ($40m).

He has scored 34 times in just 86 appearances in the Premier League for the Molineux side.

He managed four goals from 10 games last season before his injury.

Mexico's Jimenez returns after fractured skull

ESPN 17 July, 2021 - 08:37am

He played the first 30 minutes of the 1-0 preseason friendly defeat at Crewe Alexandra as Wolves began life under new coach Bruno Lage.

Jimenez underwent lengthy treatment on the pitch following the clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz while contesting a corner in the fifth minute of the 2-1 win last November.

He was motionless on the ground after the incident and there was concern after the Mexican was wheeled off the pitch and taken to hospital after more than 10 minutes of on-field treatment.

He had surgery before returning home in early December but did not play again during the 2020-21 campaign.

The 30-year-old has become a crowd favourite at Molineux and has scored 34 Premier League goals since joining the club in the summer of 2018.

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