Townsend, 21, was the most impressive of the new crop on show at Brunton Park.
The winger, who was on loan at Leeds and Birmingham last season, ran half the length of the pitch before scoring his third goal for the club.
Villas-Boas, who has brought Townsend off the bench three times this season, was delighted with the England Under-21 player's performance in Cumbria.
"In the last couple of games that he has played he has made quite the difference in terms of his contribution to the team," Villas-Boas said.
"Obviously he is competing against the best players in the world with Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Clint Dempsey so it's difficult, but if a player so young like this triumphs over players of this dimension then the future is his."