The 22-year-old picked up the Man of the Match award on his debut for the Three Lions on Friday after netting the third goal in a starring performance during their 4-1 win over Montenegro in Group H.
Parlour, who earned 10 caps for England, feels that Townsend has justified his claim to start in the must-win tie against Poland tonight.
"He deserves to play," Parlour told the media. "He scored a great goal and was always a threat on the right-hand side.
"He delivered good crosses into the box although Hodgson could take the safety option - by picking James Milner - but after that performance it is difficult to leave him out."
On a replacement for the suspended Kyle Walker, Parlour said: "Phil Jones is the likely replacement, maybe Chris Smalling, but Jones is more defensive-minded and with Leighton Baines an attacking player Jones would have to cover the centre-halves. And he's never let England down before."
England host Poland at Wembley with kick off getting underway at 8pm.