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Tom impresses on the big stage

Andre Villas-Boas said Tom Carroll 'deserves respect' for his performance against Lazio in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The young midfielder - still only 20 - wasn't overawed by the biggest night of his short career so far as he stepped out at Rome's Olympic Stadium, home of Lazio and Roma and one of the most famous stages in world football.

It was Academy graduate Tom's third start of the campaign and second-successive in the Europa League after completing 90 minutes in the 3-1 win against NK Maribor at the Lane last time out in Group J.

Tom played his usual quick possession game alongside Sandro in central midfield, set-up Gareth Bale's disallowed goal with an inch-perfect pass in the fifth minute and dug in when he had to as Lazio had the better of the goalless draw.

"Tom has been very good and I compliment the development team for the work they’ve been doing," said Andre.

"We don’t just have Tom Carroll coming through, but a lot of important players coming through.

"It’s difficult for them as well because there aren’t a lot of opportunities, but they keep fighting and keep persisting.

"Tom played well. It’s his second consecutive game in Europe after Maribor. That bodes extremely well for the team and it was good to see him out there. He deserves our respect."