Antonio Conte: I like this Chelsea defender’s ability to play different roles

The Chelsea manager delivers a glowing verdict on Cesar Azpilicueta

Antonio Conte has hailed Cesar Azpilicueta’s versatility after the Chelsea defender signed a new long-term deal with the west London club on Tuesday.

The Spain international put pen to paper on a new four-and-a-half year contract with the Blues after an impressive start to the 2016-17 Premier League season.

Azpilicueta was utilised largely as a left-back or a right-back under Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho since his move to Stamford Bridge in 2012.

However, new Chelsea boss Conte has opted to use Azpilicueta as part of a three-man defence in his much-lauded 3-4-3 system in recent months.

The former Marseille man has established a promising understanding with his defensive colleagues Gary Cahill and David Luiz.

And Conte has hailed Azpilicueta as a good professional after the Chelsea defender committed his future to the Italian’s project at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased with his commitment, with his work-rate, and with his ability to play in different roles,” Conte told Chelsea’s website.

“He’s a good professional and I’m pleased for him, but above all I’m pleased for the club and for the fans because we’ve signed [a new contract with] a really good player.

“It was good business for us [when we signed him in 2012]. His valuation now is very high. Azpi is a really good player.”

Azpilicueta won the Premier League title in 2015 as part of Jose Mourinho’s side.

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Chelsea finished in tenth place in the Premier League table last season.

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