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Josh Sims: ‘I’d be lying if I say I don’t want to come back’ to New York Red Bulls

Sims will return to Southampton now that his loan ended, but he wants to return to MLS.

Oct 20, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Josh Sims (20) reacts after scoring a goal during the first half against the Philadelphia Union in the first round playoff match at Talen Energy Stadium. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

HARRISON, N.J. — Josh Sims wants to be back with the New York Red Bulls. The club’s sporting director, Denis Hamlett, said the winger is “someone we think definitely has big potential for us.”

So does that mean now that Sims’ short-term loan from Southampton is over, the winger will be back with the Red Bulls next year?

Not necessarily.

There wasn’t an option to buy at the end of the loan. So although both parties appear to be in agreement, the simplest solution isn’t always the easiest.

“I’ve said I’ve enjoyed my time here, so I’d be lying if I say I don’t want to come back because this is probably the most experience I’ve gained so far in my career,” Sims told Pro Soccer USA at the club’s season-ending media availability last week. “So I would happily come back. I’ve enjoyed it. Everyone’s been good to me. And I’ve learned a lot.”

The 22-year-old was struggling for first team minutes at Southampton so he welcomed the move in August to Major League Soccer, especially to a Red Bulls team that plays a similar way as the Saints under head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl, formerly of RB Leipzig.

“That was one of the big things,” Sims said. “I wouldn’t have liked to come obviously all this way, across to America and not played a sort of similar style of football because it wouldn’t have made any sense. So that was one of the big things for sure.”

Sims made his Red Bulls’ debut in a substitute performance in a Hudson River Derby defeat to NYCFC on August 24. He’d start five of the last six games of the regular season and scored his first — and perhaps last — goal in the 4-3 defeat to the Philadelphia Union in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs.

Some 10 minutes after his goal, Sims left with a concussion after a collision with Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

“It’s a bit of a bittersweet moment,” Sims said. “It’s disappointing that it ended earlier than we would have liked, but I’ve gained a lot of experience so even though it has ended shorter than what we’d like, I’m happy with everything that’s happened.”

Sims credits his Red Bulls teammates for welcoming him with open arms and helping ease the transition.

Sims can take that experience, and all the minutes played, back to Southampton or he can return to New York and join the Red Bulls for preseason in January.

“It’s up to the clubs now to sort out the money side of it. It’s definitely out of my hands,” Sims said. “So there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes. I’m sure the clubs will come to some sort of discussions and we’ll from them”

He’s unsure of his future, but Sims is hoping for a bit of clarity sooner than later.

“You know how things are, sometimes it can take a bit longer,” Sims said. “We’ll see, but I think I’ll probably go back to England now and see my family and do a bit of training to stay fit.”

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