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Parker scores to boost comeback

England midfielder Scott Parker stepped up his comeback from a long-term achilles injury on Monday night by scoring for Tottenham's under-21 side against Aston Villa.

• Blog: Life without Bale

Parker, who made a long-awaited return to Premier League action as a late substitute against Swansea on Sunday, completed 68 minutes and has now started twice in the space of a week for the Spurs under-21's, having played a full match at Sunderland last Monday.

Parker will now be pushing for a permanent role in the first team over the course of the busy festive period, with the 32-year-old having been assured of a place in Andre Villas-Boas's side once he proves his fitness.

"Parker will play regularly for us and it is a massive boost to have him back," Villas-Boas said. "We appreciate the importance of this player and he can play in the same team as Sandro and Moussa Dembele."

Parker's return may be perfectly timed with Villas-Boas suggesting the secret to success for his Spurs team this season may not be their attacking flair, but their work rate and determination in the midfield as shown against Swansea.

"The players showed the desire to put the opponent under pressure for the whole game against Swansea," he said. "It's difficult because it demands that you put yourself physically in profit for the team.

"You have to be aware because Swansea move the ball quickly, they don't just lump it, they look to outplay you, to get in behind with their movement and the position of the ball. That makes it so difficult and that's why the players were tactically perfect.

"We won the ball a few times and could have taken the lead earlier but it was a satisfying win and a tremendous effort from the players. In the end, they got their reward."

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