USMNT star James Sands told he would be 'big player' by NYCFC - which convinced him to leave Rangers exile

James Sands Rangers 2022-23
Rangers coach Michael Beale has revealed the reason behind the early end to James Sands' loan move and his return to New York City FC.
  • Sands spent over a year on loan
  • Defender returned to NYCFC this month
  • Hopes to feature in MLS soon

WHAT HAPPENED? Sands joined the Scottish side on an 18-month loan with an option to make the move permanent but opted to return to his parent club on March 1. Beale opened up about the decision to send him back to the United States, saying that the defender was told he has a chance of playing a big role for NYCFC this season.

WHAT THEY SAID: "James, came to speak to me about four weeks ago. He's a midfielder that's had to play center back for us and when he's had to play there, he's done really well," Beale said. "Obviously, the MLS season was about to start. I think he had some assurances from that end that he would be a big player for them and I suppose the question that he was throwing out was, are we going to take up the option?

"Unfortunately, we weren't going to do that. Nothing against James and the way that he played, but we didn't feel we were going to take up the option and we had an agreement because of us only having two fit senior centre-backs at the time that we'd get the final out of the way and then he could go back. So that's why he wasn't involved in the cup final. I didn't think it was fair to involve James over a player that's going to be here and that's it. They're the decisions that I've got to make."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sands made 46 appearances in all competitions for Rangers, including 27 this season. The 22-year-old had featured 76 times for NYCFC before he made the temporary move to Scotland.

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James Sands Rangers call for ball 2022-23

Michael Beale Rangers 2022-23

James Sands Rangers 2022-23

WHAT NEXT FOR SANDS? After losing 2-0 against Nashville in its first MLS match of 2023, NYCFC will take on Chicago Fire on Sunday and Sands will hope to be involved for Nick Cushing's team.