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Time to enjoy Barcelona’s youngsters in pre-season action

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A different start to normal...

RCD Espanyol B v FC Barcelona B - Segunda Division B Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Just as it was at the same stage last pre-season, the Johan Cruyff Stadium is the setting for Barcelona to get back down to business.

The 2021-22 pre-season will look a bit different to normal, however, given that some players are still on their summer holidays and others need to make way in the current transfer window.

Frankly, there seems little point in playing the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho, for example.

All three have no future left at the club if reports are to be believed, and why risk an injury to any of the trio, thereby scuppering any potential deals that could be done.

Barcelona v Valencia - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It does remain relatively quiet on that front at present, but there are still a few weeks left for them to be eased out.

Even if the club have to take another financial hit, surely that’s preferable than having them sat on the sidelines and draining club coffers.

The same could be said for Neto who allegedly wants out after being quite happy to be Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s understudy when signing, but clearly doesn’t want to play second fiddle now.

Ronald Koeman showed during last season that he is more than willing to blood Barca’s youngsters if he thinks they’re good enough.

Against Gimnastic Tarragona and Girona, the likes of Inaki Pena, Ilias, Gavi, Comas, Ramos Mingo, Nico, Arnau Tenas, Alex Collado, Alejandro Balde, Kays Ruiz, Jordi Escobar and Yusuf Demir can do themselves no harm whatsoever by just going out and playing with freedom and enjoyment.

“Salid y disfrutad” and all that. Very apt given the venue.

It really is an opportunity for any one of those named to impress the Dutchman and force their way into his first-team plans.

RCD Espanyol B v FC Barcelona B - Segunda Division B Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The pathway from La Masia to the first team has been revived since Koeman has been in charge, and there’ll be no complaints from culers if that continues during the new campaign.

As always, perhaps the major issue is the sense of expectation that is often placed upon young shoulders.

One of the youngest, Gavi, 16, is already being talked up as the future of the club, ditto Balde, Collado and Demir. Is that healthy?

The excitement of another golden era of La Masia graduates coming through has to be tempered a little.

Just let them play.

In any event, considering where the club were at a year ago, supporters can genuinely start to look forward again rather than back.

Vamos!