Antonio Conte was full of praise for Per Mertesacker after Chelsea’s defeat in the FA Cup final.

• Conte pays tribute to German’s professionalism
• Calls him the perfect role model for young players
• Echoes Arsene Wenger’s comments about the BFG

After years of dealing with Jose Mourinho, the concept of a graceful Chelsea manager is a foreign one.

Conte, however, has taken the time to praise the performance of Per Mertesacker and had some nice words to say.

“Per Mertesacker for me is a perfect example for any young professional football player,” he said.

“What he did today was just a consequence of an unbelievable attitude every day, even if not selected, until the Everton game in the squad.

“He played his first game tonight and when he was not selected he worked even harder, which is why I pay a special tribute for him tonight.”

There were doubts over Mertesacker’s ability to perform after such a long absence from injury.

Our BFG, though, used every ounce of experience he had and looked as if had never been away. For a player that had never played in a back three before, he looked remarkably comfortable.

It was a welcome reminder of the quality he has and that he can still be depended on. If three-at-the-back is here to stay, he could well play a big role next season.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,