Sands arrived at Ibrox last month on an 18-month loan deal from MLS side New York City FC, with the Gers also having an option to make the move permanent.


The 21-year played with the likes of AC Milan legend Pirlo and Spanish World Cup winner Villa at his parent club, in a first team that was then coached by Arsenal legend Vieira.



And Sands has revealed that having the likes of Villa, Pirlo and Vieira to look up to and learn from in New York was special to him.


The Gers new boy also expressed his joy in being part of the Pigeons’ evolution into the club they are today, being the first player from their academy set up to make the leap into senior football.



Asked what it means to be a part of New York City FC’s development into the club they are today, Sands told Rangers TV: “Yes, it is really special.


“Being the first academy player to make the jump to the first team there was so amazing and I had such good mentors there.



“Patrick Vieira was my first coach.


“I played with Villa and Pirlo and just to learn from those guys every day was pretty special.”


Having joined Rangers, Sands will now also have the companionship of a vastly experienced midfielder in fellow Gers new boy Aaron Ramsey to learn from in the coming months.