Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard scored twice on his Premier League debut for West Ham as David Moyes’ side cruised past Aston Villa in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate.
Lingard, who left Old Trafford on loan last week, had fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but looked like he was making up for lost time, scoring goals with both feet to secure the victory at Villa Park and perhaps sending the Man United boss a reminder of the type of player he’s ignored so far this season.
Moyes’ side held on to a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Wednesday night, courtesy of goals from Lingard and Tomas Soucek.
Soucek in particular looked lively, finishing off a fine team move for his eighth of the season to open the scoring and give them a well-deserved lead.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Lingard fired home from range after Soucek broke the deadlock, before combining with Michail Antonio to restore their two-goal lead after Ollie Watkins pulled a goal back for the hosts.
As per SofaScore, the 28-year-old earn a high 8.4 match rating for his efforts, the highest out of any player from either side, including the likes of Said Benrahma and Jack Grealish.
Lingard, who was making his first Premier League start in 13 months, was in inspired form in the midfield, and it’s certainly not a stretch to say that, in particular in the second half, he was one of the main reasons why the Hammers held onto all three points.
The England international proved to be an absolute nightmare for defenders to combat as he completed two successful dribbles from six attempts and was also fouled once as well. This is all the more impressive when you consider the physical nature of Dean Smith’s side, who count Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa among their number.
Playing in his favoured position as a central No. 10, Lingard looked back to his very best as he looks to build his confidence back up following quite a dramatic fall from grace.
By the numbers, he would go on to take 68 touches of the ball, bettered only by the likes of Soucek, Mings and Matt Targett, and far greater than his last season’s average of 24.8 per 90, which suggests that he was playing well above his usual standards.
Therefore, while Solskjaer heaped praise on Martial following the 9-0 win over Southampton at Old Trafford, that doesn’t mean that Lingard’s near-perfect performance against an in-form Villa side should go unnoticed.
Lingard was rotting on the United bench but the deal Ed Woodward completed to send him to West Ham could be an absolute masterstroke if he continues to play at a high level.
He’ll either return to United as a much more confident player, one who is ready to force his way back into the team or he’ll fetch a decent transfer fee if the Red Devils decide to cash in.
AND in other news, Man Utd can find their next Gary Neville in Norwich City starlet Max Aarons…