James Sands: NYCFC boss addresses future of Rangers loanee

Chris Smith
Sands has found minutes hard to come by recently.
Sands has found minutes hard to come by recently. / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing has given a guarded response when it comes to a possible return for Rangers loanee James Sands.

Sands made the switch in January 2022 while Giovanni van Bronckhorst was still in charge at Ibrox, signing an 18-month loan deal with a purchase option.

The United States international made a promising start to life in Scotland but since Van Bronckhorst was replaced by Michael Beale, he's found games a little harder to come by - especially since the arrival of Nicolas Raskin.

Now, rumors are circulating that NYCFC could recall Sands - who can play in midfield and defense - ahead of the 2023 MLS season, though Cushing has been cryptic when addressing the speculation.

"I don't think it's right to discuss individual players and especially players who aren't in our squad," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday. "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."

When questioned about Sands' role last month, Rangers boss Beale was keen to keep the 22-year-old around and to try and give him more opportunities in his favored midfield role rather than at center-back - where he's played 20 of his 39 appearances for the club so far.

"To be fair to James he’s had to play mostly at center-back, even going back to the PSV games which were fantastic results," Beale said, adding: "He came in as a guy to play in midfield and can play as a center-back if required and he has done that more than we expected.

"So I would like to give him an opportunity to play in his more favored position before we make any decision on that one."