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USMNT international Sands reveals Reyna's role in decision to join Rangers

11:06 GMT 28/01/2022
James Sands USMNT 2021
The versatile 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of an illustrious countryman when it comes to spending time at Ibrox

James Sands linked up with Scottish champions Rangers at the start of the January transfer window and has revealed that former United States international Claudio Reyna played a part in him ending up at Ibrox.

The versatile 21-year-old has become the latest USMNT star to take on a new challenge in Europe, with New York City allowing him to depart on an initial 18-month loan arrangement that includes an option to buy.

Sands is following in the footsteps of illustrious countryman Reyna – the father of Borussia Dortmund star Gio – when it comes to spending time in Glasgow and admits to having sought the advice of a one-time Gers fan favourite before agreeing to a switch.

What has been said?

Sands told reporters of his decision to join Rangers and the role a fellow American played in a big transfer call: “I spoke to Claudio Reyna before joining the club which was a great help.”

He added on getting the chance to play under another Gers legend, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who succeeded Aston Villa-bound Steven Gerrard at the helm in November 2021: “The boss has big expectations for me and it was great to have the challenge straight away. I'm looking forward to improving with this team.

“It's great for me to be around the experienced guys at training, it is great for a young player and I keep picking up tips from them.”

What is Sands’ best position?

Sands took in 69 appearances for NYCFC after graduating out of their academy system, with eye-catching performances put in across the field.

He is capable of operating in midfield and defence, but feels he can make the biggest impact for club and country when taking on a role in the engine room.

The highly-rated youngster has said when asked about his best position: “Holding midfield role is where I am most comfortable, I have played centre-back and I am flexible in other positions.

“We have quality throughout the roster and everyone is pushing for a starting spot. This will only help me to develop.”

On adapting his game to meet the demands of life in Britain, Sands – who made his debut for Rangers in their 1-1 draw with Aberdeen – added: “In the MLS a lot of teams play a similar style, here you can have two teams playing completely different styles and it is great to learn from. Each game I aim to get better and adapt to the league.”

Sands, who has seven caps for the United States, will be hoping to do enough in Scotland to keep him in contention for a place in his country’s plans for the 2022 World Cup – with Gregg Berhalter’s side making positive progress in their qualification campaign.

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