BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Jesse Lingard scored twice on his debut as West Ham beat Aston Villa 3-1 in the Premier League on Wednesday to maintain its push for a European place.

Lingard, who joined on loan from Manchester United last week, played his first Premier League game since July but showed no signs of rust with his finishing.

He made it 2-0 in the 56th minute after downing a cross from Michail Antonio on his chest and slotting in a low shot with his left foot from a tough angle. He then made it 3-1 in the 83rd after another assist from Antonio, although Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez probably should have kept out his shot from the right side of the area.

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 defending champion’s 1-0 home loss to Brighton.

Villa, who slipped to a fourth league defeat in six games, remained ninth. Ollie Watkins had made it 2-1 in the 81st but Dean Smith’s side often struggled to handle the organized visitors.

Lingard was making just his fourth appearance of the season after falling out of favor at Man United, but impressed in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate as he looks to resurrect his international career. The 28-year-old Lingard has not played for England since 2019.

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