La Masia: Juan Miranda

Life after Jordi Alba is hopefully not being considered just yet, but life after Lucas Digne has already begun. The starting left-back for Barcelona B, Marc Cucurella, hasn't received much confidence as Alba's prodigy, and without the confidence of the first team decision-makers, it's unknown if the player and the club feel that Cucurella will be at the club much longer.

The young left-back who does seem to have the confidence of those in charge is 18-year-old Juan Miranda. Being only a year and a half younger than Cucurella, he bounced between the Juvenil A squad where he won the UEFA Youth League last season and became a semi-regular contributor for Barcelona B. Unlike fellow speed demons Alba and Cucurella, Miranda stands above six feet tall and owes some of his pace and acceleration to his long strides. The major difference in the scouting report between Cucurella and Miranda is that the younger left-back is seen as a more complete full-back, known for his tackling and anticipation as much as his ability to bomb forward and deliver a cross.

Miranda was born in the city of Olivares in Andalusia and joined Real Betis' youth set-up in 2008. He made the move to La Masia in June of 2014. He first started to make a name for himself in 2016 when he made three appearances for Spain's U-16 squad, followed by 20 appearances and three goals for La Roja's U-17 team between 2016 and 2017. In May of 2017, he and his national team teammates won the European U-17 Championship with Miranda as the starting left-back. He was unable to make it two championships in two tries as Spain was defeated by England in the final of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, collecting a silver medal as the runner-ups.

His Barcelona career began to move along quickly this past season as well, making his professional debut in Barca B's first game of the campaign on the road against Real Valladolid. With the debut, he became the first player born in the new millennium to play in the Segunda Division. Once the calendar turned, he scored his first professional goal in late January in a 3-0 win over Granada.

Along with Riqui Puig, Ernesto Valverde has already shown in the preseason that he trusts these two youngsters at the moment more than the others in the B team. A league debut for the first team is right on the horizon.