Mexico calls up Jimenez despite UK travel ban

Raul Jimenez has been named to Mexico‘s 28-player list for its upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches despite uncertainly over whether the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker can travel due to ongoing travel restrictions by British authorities.

Jimenez would be set to make his first appearance for Mexico since Nov. 2020, but the Premier League stated on Tuesday it would support clubs in their decision not to release players for international matches hosted by “red list” countries due high rates of COVID-19.

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The United Kingdom includes Mexico and several countries from South America on the “red list,” meaning players would be required to a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine on return to the UK and could subsquently miss several club matches.

Johan Vasquez (Genoa), Nestor Araujo (Celta Vigo) and Andres Guardado (Real Betis) have also been included in Gerado “Tata” Martino’s squad despite Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s LaLiga having also made similar decisions over travel restrictions.

Edson Alvarez (Ajax Amsterdam) and Jesus Corona (FC Porto) round out the European contingent although Corona is rumored to make a move to AC Milan before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31.

Notable absences include Betis youngster Diego Lainez and Napoli winger Hirving Lozano, both recovering from injuries sustained from their summer earlier appearances for El Tri.

Should Martino be without Jimenez and Vasquez, the Argentine coach would be forced to rely on other options such as forward Henry Martin and defender Cesar Montes, who won bronze for Mexico at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo earlier this summer.

Other members from that Olympic squad include Club America trio Guillermo Ochoa, Jorge Sanchez and Sebastian Cordova, Cruz Azul duo Luis Romo and Roberto Alvarado, Chivas’ Alexis Vega and Uriel Antuna, and Monterrey’s Carlos Rodriguez.

Mexico hosts Jamaica on Sept. 2, and will travel to Costa Rica and Panama to finish out the initial run of qualifiers.

The Premier League’s decision is expected to affect Jamaica far more than it did Mexico, as the Reggae Boyz were expected to call upon players such as Leon Bailey (Aston Villa), Andre Gray (Watford) and Michail Antonio (West Ham United), among others.

Also missing from Mexico’s list is all-time leading goalscorer Javier Hernandez, who has not suited up for national duty since 2019. Hernandez has scored 10 goals for LA Galaxy as many league games this season, but has missed his club’s last 11 matches due to a calf injury.