Jesse Lingard scored two goals on his West Ham debut as the Hammers returned to winning ways with an excellent 3-1 victory at Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Lingard repaid David Moyes’ faith with a brace on his first start to get West Ham back on track in the Premier League.
It came in front of the watching England boss Gareth Southgate as Lingard looks to resurrect his international career. The 28-year-old has not played for the Three Lions since 2019.
Tomas Soucek opened the scoring as the Hammers clung on to fifth place ahead of Everton and they are now just two points behind Liverpool after the champions’ defeat to Brighton.
Villa, who slipped to a fourth league defeat in six games, remain ninth. Ollie Watkins grabbed a late consolation but Dean Smith’s side often struggled to handle the organised and vibrant Hammers.
The visitors were always sharper and Emi Martinez saved comfortably from Michail Antonio’s miscued half-volley before beating away Lingard’s 25-yard drive during a strong start.
Lingard, appearing for just the fourth time this season after falling out of favour at Old Trafford, helped the Hammers to an expansive and positive opening which stretched the hosts.