By Joe Ellis

14th Jan, 2022 | 10:10am

NYCFC director Lee backs 'outstanding' Sands to succeed at Rangers

James Sands’ arrival at Rangers came with plenty of question marks but New York City FC sporting director David Lee has backed him to succeed.

The 21-year-old joined the club earlier in January on an 18-month loan from the MLS franchise with an option to buy at the end of next season.

NYCFC’s first homegrown player has also made his debut for the United States national team and is looking to Ibrox to further his career.

Speaking to The Athletic, Lee said: “Tactically he is outstanding, he reads the game fantastically well and he’s technically excellent whether playing centre-back or midfield. They’re the things that can sometimes go unnoticed but they don’t when you work with him.

“He’s worked with three head coaches now and everyone has tried to find a way to put him in the team as he helps the team regardless of position.

“It all depends on the team and system you play. He went to the national team and played in midfield and then in a back four and a back three so even at that level they’re valuing his versatility.

“It’s difficult to say he’s better in one position but what he does do is give coaches options and decisions in-game to move him into other positions to change shape, the tempo of the game without having to make a sub as he can adapt so quickly.”

Brave call

You have to give huge credit to Sands for uprooting his life in the city that never sleeps for a move to Scotland but that just outlines the kind of man Rangers are getting.

At just 21 years of age, you could forgive him for wanting to stay at the club he has been with his entire career simply for comfort and familiarity.

Sands though doesn’t want comfort, he wants a challenge and that is exactly what he will get at Ibrox.

Whether he walks straight into Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side or if he has to work for it on the training pitch, his mentality should be enough for him to keep his head above water in the SPFL.

In other Rangers news, one of van Bronckhorst’s favourites could leave the club this month.