Like with Riqui Puig, age is just a number and statuses should be left aside when deciding whether or not to start someone as gifted and prepared as Ansu Fati in the Champions League. Despite being 3 years younger, Ansu has played almost double the minutes of Riqui with the first team and, unlike the midfielder, he has debuted in the Champions already.
Even if, when matters the most, managers end up choosing the more veteran Suárez and Griezmann, Ansu doesn’t care about the scenario or stage. He scored the late winner at San Siro, and has proven that he takes every match and every record broken with naturalness, as if he was still playing with people of his age.
What he offers is not only quality and talent, though. That could not be enough to choose a 17-year-old over Luis and / or Antoine. But tactically the arguments are great enough to not overlook him. We. Need. Wingers. And we should not try to find complex formulas to compensate the lack of wingers, because we have an excellent one in Ansu Fati.
We can’t live without wingers. We become horizontal, predictable for our over-insistence in playing through the centre, without threat out wide, and with full-backs that are not self-sufficient enough to assume the tasks of width and depth in the flanks. And this need to use wingers applies regardless of whether we face Napoli or Bayern. Of whether we face a low block or offensive full-backs that we want to push back. For functional tactics, wingers, and therefore Ansu, are non-negotiable.