David Moyes backed Jesse Lingard to resurrect his England career after his debut brace inspired West Ham to victory at Aston Villa.
The 28-year-old scored twice in front of watching Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate as the impressive Hammers claimed a deserved 3-1 win.
Lingard, who joined on loan from Manchester United last week, has not played for his country since 2019 having lost his position in Southgate’s squad due to poor form and lack of game time at Old Trafford.
He played a key role when the Three Lions reached the World Cup semi-final in 2018 – featuring in six of their seven games – and Moyes believes Lingard can force his way in to Southgate’s squad for the European Championships.
“If he keeps that form up then it might be Gareth coming knocking again,” he said.
“He will have his own ambitions and challenges to show people he is at a level and he showed a really good level, Ross Barkley is very much the same for Villa.
“There are a lot of people who are pushing hard to make the England squad for the Euros and why shouldn’t Jesse push if he’s in the form he is in tonight?
“If he keeps playing as well as he did he will do a brilliant job for West Ham and if he keeps going like that then he’ll get back into the England squad. I hope he can get back to that standard.”
Victory kept the Hammers fifth and they are now just two points behind Liverpool after the champions suffered another defeat, losing 1-0 to Brighton.
Moyes added: “We have to go step-by-step, we are making a big step at the moment and the players we have got have improved no end.
“We are in a really good position. We are going to keep knocking on the door and see where we go.”
Emi Martinez denied Lingard from distance while Watkins hit the post during an even first half before the Hammers took control.
Tomas Soucek opened the scoring after 51 minutes when he drilled in Said Benrahma’s pass.
Five minutes later it was 2-0 as Lingard finished off a quick break involving Michail Antonio and Benrahma.
Tyrone Mings’ acrobatic clearance stopped Antonio making it 3-0 and Watkins pulled a goal back with nine minutes left.
But Lingard sealed the points two minutes later when Antonio again teed up him to score, although Martinez should have done better.
Defeat, Villa’s fourth in six league games, left them ninth – a point ahead of Arsenal who they host on Saturday.
Smith laments ‘horrendous goals’
Boss Dean Smith said: “It was about three horrendous goals we gave away. We didn’t play well, the better team won and we weren’t our usual selves.
“We gave three awful goals away and you can’t do that at this level.
“The third one Emi will feel he can do better with but I’m not going to moan about my goalkeeper making mistakes when he has kept 10 clean sheets this season.
“We got ourselves back into the game with Ollie but they scored a poor third goal.
“We have set the standards and you want to keep that going. I’ll reflect and I tweaked the system and maybe it was the wrong decision.
“We didn’t have a zip about us, I don’t know the reason why.”
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