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