Antonio Conte: Cesc Fabregas is a great example to his Chelsea teammates

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has heaped praise on midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who he feels could earn a prominent role in the Blues setup next season.

The Spain international was often left frustrated last season as he found himself behind the likes of Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kante for a place in central midfield.

Speaking to The Mirror, Conte insisted that the Blues have a really good player in the form of Fabregas, who can also feature in the number 10 role in addition to the position he has adapted to at Stamford Bridge, he said: "He is a really good player who can play in this position in midfield but also he could play No.10. He is a great example to other players with his commitment and his behaviour every day during training sessions. He must continue this way because he is working well for us."

Fabregas was barely used during Conte's initial phase of Chelsea management, but the second half of the season was better as he got a reasonable chance to impress alongside Kante, the manager added: "In the second part of last season, Cesc played a lot of games and he was an important player for us to reach our target of winning the league and also to reach the final of the FA Cup."

Nemanja Matic is on the cusp of leaving Stamford Bridge this summer, but the Blues have already recruited a suitable replacement with Tiemoue Bakayoko signing up this month. Nevertheless, Fabregas is not scared of the incoming competition as he has battled his way into his 15th season of his professional career.

Conte stuck with the 3-4-3 formation for most of the previous campaign, but there could be a shift to his preferred 3-5-2 setup next term with Fabregas being tipped to play behind the main striker. Despite this, the Spaniard could start the new campaign at the centre of the park with Bakayoko ruled out until September with a knee injury.