“Ibrox Stadium” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Tom Brogan
When bringing James Sands to the club on loan from New York City, Rangers raised a few eyebrows amongst their fans and others around the league. However, just a few games into his career at Rangers and it is clear that he not only offers something a little different that Rangers currently don’t have, but also a great deal of quality, and he is going to help them lift another league title.
The Scottish Premiership has been a two-horse race for decades between Rangers and Celtic, and this year looks no different. As of 27 January, Rangers have built up a four-point lead at the top of the table. Alongside this, for those who bet on football at Space Casino, the current odds of Rangers winning the league are 57/100. Celtic are second favourites at 119/100, while everyone else is priced up at triple figure odds, showing they are no longer involved in the race.
Sands has only just arrived at the club and made his Rangers debut in the middle of January, so cannot take credit for too much that has happened so far. However, what he can do is drive this team forward and give them all they need to win another title, partly in thanks to the play he is going to deliver over the next few months.
What Does Sands Bring to the Rangers Team?
The first thing to note about the deal made when Rangers signed James Sands was that their loan was for 18 months. This is not just about the current season, but for the whole of next season too. On top of this, they can make the deal permanent after that spell, so this is a player who could be with Rangers for many years.
?? Welcome to #RangersFC, James Sands.
? Rangers are today delighted to announce the signing of @USMNT international James Sands from @NYCFC on an initial 18-month loan agreement subject to work permit and international clearance. Rangers hold an exclusive option to buy.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) January 5, 2022
In terms of what Sands brings, it is unlikely that he will frequently hit the headlines. His role at the club is to provide cover in deeper parts of the field, so that others can drive forward without worrying about where they are.
With his 6’3 frame, Sands is a big presence in the middle of the field and will stand in to help Rangers win the physical battle against their opponents. By having him in the lineup, players such as Ianis Hagi, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, won’t have as much responsibility with the defensive side of the game, which should give them more freedom.
When winning their 55th title last season, one of the biggest focuses for Rangers as a club was to ensure it wasn’t a one-off, and that they could use that victory to create a period of dominance.
Bringing in a player like Sands, who is the ideal type to settle things and balance the team behind their abundance of attacking talent, is certainly one way to ensure that happens. So far, Sands has shown he can do that.