The International Champions Cup (ICC), played in the United States and Asia is now a benchmark for the big clubs in terms of pre-season.
It provides a stage for the managers of the big clubs to test out the vast number of men they have in reserve. While most of the clubs use the word 'reserve' in regards to their second teams, but Barcelona, known for their youth teams and academy, regard these big players with the utmost respect.
Through the years, young players coming out the La Masia academy have been more than influential for the Catalans. After a brief stop on the production line, it seems as if Ernesto Valverde and Co. have some serious plans regarding youth development.
Pre-season tournaments are very important for these young players. To get a chance in the first team crowded by big-names, youngsters get a chance to prove their mettle in the friendly matches played in the pre-season. Not only young players but also those who mainly taste the substitute bench also try to make the most out of these games.
This season, Denis Suarez, Sergi Samper and Andre Gomes were the big losers in the ICC outing. Missing out the games due to injury, these three talents have been largely restricted to the bench in recent years and yet again missed a chance to shine in the eyes of the boss. But let's look at five young players who made the most out of the opportunity;
#5 Juan Miranda (Left Back)
The defender from the second team has exploded on to the world stage in a short period of time. Playing like a traditional Catalan full-back, Miranda has the pace and the passing abilities to help the attackers in breaking defensive lines.
Like his senior, Jordi Alba, Miranda has the pace and the acceleration to make runs from behind. The 18-year-old certainly has a promising future ahead of him.
The full-back featured in all three of Barcelona's pre-season games against Spurs, Roma and Milan.
He was also the only player from the reserve side who started the first and the third game for Valverde's side. Now with Lucas Digne away at Everton and doubts surrounding Marc Cucurella's future at the club, Miranda could be the perfect backup option for Jordi Alba and a promotion to the first squad is nothing short of a formality if the board decides not to sign another left-back in the transfer window.
Fortunately for the young Spaniard, the club hasn't been strongly linked with any other player who plays in the same position at the moment.