Rangers cut short James Sands loan deal as midfielder returns to parent club New York City ahead of MLS season

The 22-year-old has seen his game time restricted following the arrival of Nicolas Raskin in January.
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Rangers have announced the departure of utility man James Sands who has returned to parent club New York City FC.

The United States international joined the Ibrox club on an 18-month loan deal in January 2022 under Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s short-lived tenure and would go on to make 41 appearances for the club in both domestic and European competitions.

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After a promising start to life in Glasgow, the versatile midfielder struggled for game time under new boss Michael Beale and the January arrival of Nicolas Raskin from Standard Liege pushed him further down the pecking order.

The 22-year-old, who started a number of games in an unfamiliar centre-back role due to a defensive injury crisis earlier this season, featured in the Europa League final and played a key role in helping Rangers to Scottish Cup glory for the first time in 13 years last term.

He recently scored the winning goal against Partick Thistle in the last round of the competition amid rumours that he could be recalled ahead of the 2023 MLS season.

Commenting on his early exit, Beale stated: “I would like to thank James for his time at Rangers. He was a well-liked player in our squad and I enjoyed working with him on a daily basis. I believe he will go on to have an excellent career.

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“The opportunity to return to NYCFC for the start of the MLS Season, where he will be a key player in their squad, was something that we felt was correct for all parties. Everyone at Rangers wishes him well moving forwards.”

Sands’ departure from Ibrox comes just a matter of weeks after New York City head coach Nick Cushing addressed the player’s situation. He admitted: “I don’t think it’s right to discuss individual players an especially players who aren’t in our squad. I think for us, there are many negotiations going on across all of our squad.

“Recruitment at the moment is a big focus of ours, but I do not want to comment on individual situations.”

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