Raul Jimenez's Wolves rise down to him – Nuno
Raul Jimenez's rise from Benfica super-sub to Wolves’ £32million star striker is purely down to the player, says boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Jimenez arrived at Wolves on the back of spending most of his time in Portugal coming off the bench.
But after impressing massively on loan and then being snapped up for a club-record fee in the last window, the 28-year-old Mexican has already scored eight times this season.
And it is not because of the coaching he has been getting or the players around him, although they are both of an excellent standard.
It is down to his ‘fantastic work’ on a daily basis.
“That’s down to him, the fantastic work he does every day. It’s down to him. It’s about him, so credit to him,” said Nuno.
Jimenez’s haul of 25 goals in 54 appearances for Wolves is all the more admirable when you take into account his Mexico exploits.
He helped them to a Gold Cup triumph earlier this summer as player of the tournament and has continued to shine in gold and black despite only having a brief pre-season break.
You cannot help but feel he could do with a rest at some point, though, and Nuno has been boosted by the news that Tata Martino is not planning to call up any of their Europe-based players for the Concacaf Nations League in October and November.
“Raul plays in the other part of the world,” said Nuno.
“It requires a lot from him. He arrived (back in Wolverhampton) on Thursday morning at 7am, but this is what you have to deal with.
“Having players on national teams is something we are proud of, and we have to deal with that.
“There is nothing stronger in a football career than to play for your country, and we have to respect it.
“But if the decision comes from Martino, we welcome that.”
Jimenez has struck up a potent partnership with Diogo Jota over the past several months. And looking to learn of those two is fellow forward Pedro Neto.
The youngster, after coming in from Lazio in a double-deal with compatriot Bruno Jordao, has made a promising start to his Wolves career, opening his account against FC Pyunik in Europa League qualifying and getting an assist in the same game.
Neto’s not short of ambition either.
In an interview with Sky Sports, the 19-year-old said: “I want to be the best, like always, I work all the day to be the best... in the world.
“I have to work to be the best, if I work (towards that), I can be one of the best, I don’t know.
“If I think I can be the best in the world then I will work more than if I think I can be the best just here.”
Nuno, meanwhile, thinks Neto’s best chance of success is to – like Jimenez has done – put the work in on a daily basis.
“What I think is that the career of a football player is made step by step, day by day,” he added.
“What I like is a player that is focused on the daily work.
“This is the best recipe to have success.”