Ashley Cole claims that Cesar Azpilicueta has been Chelsea's player of the season alongside centre-backs John Terry and Gary Cahill.

The Spanish full-back struggled at the start of the season with pair Branislav Ivanovic and Cole ahead of him in Jose Mourinho's pecking order.

However, after Cole suffered a minor injury earlier in October he took his opportunity to prove his worth to Mourinho and has since established as one of the most valuable player in the squad – even though he is operating out of position on the left.

Indeed, Cole believes that the former Osasuna and Marseille defender deserves the Chelsea player of the season award after an outstanding campaign.

"Cesar has been brilliant this season for me — if not the best player in the team this season — with John Terry and Gary Cahill," Cole was quoted by Evening standard.

And even though the English international has found himself marginalised due to Azpilicueta's astonishing performance he has praised the Spaniard – blaming himself for having fallen out of favour with Mourinho.

"There's obviously something I'm not doing right, so, I just had to keep my head down and keep training as hard as I could and bide my time," he said.

"I think for him (Azpilicueta) to come on the left and play left-back, I couldn't play right-back, and for him to come in and do such an amazing job, it's credit to him. He's a good guy. He trains like a warrior and he plays exactly the same."

Earlier this season, manager Mourinho heaped praise on Azpilicueta, claiming that a team with 11 players like the Spaniard would probably win the Champions League.

"Azpilicueta, this is the kind of player I like a lot. I think a team with 11 Azpilicueta would probably win the competition [Champions League] because football is not just about the pure talent," said Mourinho.

"Football is also about character and personality and Azpilicueta has all the traces of that winning personality."