Scott Parker believes teenager Fabio Carvalho could have a bright future ahead of him following his goalscoring performance during Fulham’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton.
Carvalho scored a consolation goal for Fulham on his first start as the relegated Cottagers extended their winless run to eight Premier League matches.
Southampton took the lead after 27 minutes when Che Adams struck from a James Ward-Prowse free-kick before Nathan Tella netted his first goal for Southampton on the hour mark.
Carvalho briefly gave Fulham hope but substitute Theo Walcott restored Saints’ two-goal advantage with a clinical finish and secure back-to-back home wins.
But Parker was full of praise for the 18-year-old Carvalho, he said: “(Carvalho is a) big positive.
“Massive positive for us because he’s the one who’s going to be here, he’s a player that is really bright and can bring something to this team and you saw that today.
“We’ve seen his quality today, we’ve seen him scoring and assisting at an under-23 level but now he’s been around first-team players, he’s pushed on and done that as well.
“I don’t want to heap too much on Fabio because he’s still a young boy but the future’s bright for him and he’s someone that I really like and someone that I look forward to working with really.”
Parker wants to make an example of the England youth international, who shone on only his fourth appearance for Fulham, with a number of loan players set to depart in the summer transfer window.
“This is a player that is with us, he’s been with us since a young boy and this is someone that, like I said, there’s a massive positive about them today certainly for me as well when you’re looking at developing the team and he’s someone who’s been around us now, and will be with us next year, along with other players who will be here next year as well,” he added.
“Hopefully there’s still a long way to go for Fabio and I’m very conscious of that, he’s put in a good performance today and shown his quality.
“But with the work ethic and his quality, there’s no doubt he can play at the top.”
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl praised goalscorer Adams’ impact since the lockdown last year.
Adams has 10 goals to his name this campaign and has scored in the Saints’ last two matches in what has been his most prolific season for the club.
“The second (season) was much better,” the Austrian said. “Since the lockdown we had first time, I think he’s coming back stronger and stronger and I see him working hard for this team.
“Now he’s making the easy goals. I think he had all these chances and sometimes he didn’t quite score but it’s only a question of time when he’s coming higher on the scorer list and it’s good to see.”