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Antonio Conte heaped praise on Per Mertesacker after the German’s sparkling display helped Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
The 32-year-old German was deployed in the centre of a defensive back three by Arsene Wenger at Wembley after an injury crisis forced the Gunners manager to call on the veteran.
Mertesacker had only played 37 minutes of football all season for Arsenal after suffering a serious knee injury last summer.
However, the defender produced a strong display in the heart of Arsenal’s defence to help the Gunners end the season on a high by claiming a 2-1 win over their bitter local rivals.
And Chelsea manager Conte had nothing but praise for the former Germany international following his display for the Gunners against his side on Saturday.
Conte is quoted as saying by the Daily Express: “Per Mertesacker for me is a perfect example for any young professional football player.
“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.”
Chelsea’s FA Cup final loss meant that they missed out on the chance to win a domestic double after their Premier League triumph this season.