Sunderland's Ricky Alvarez to compare Tyne-Wear and Milan derbies

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Sunderland forward Ricky Alvarez has experienced derby rivalry in Milan, but expects a Tyne-Wear clash with Newcastle United to be just as intense.

Ricky Alvarez may be relatively new to English football, but he will have been left in no doubt as to how important meetings with Newcastle United are to Sunderland.

Two old enemies are due to lock horns again on Sunday, with Tyne-Wear rivalries set to be rekindled at St James’ Park.

Argentine forward Alvarez will be experiencing such an occasion for the first time, following a summer move to the Black Cats on a season-long loan.

He does have prior experience of top-level derby dates, though, from his days at Inter Milan.

The South American expects a clash with the Magpies to be as intense as Inter-AC battles, and says he is looking forward to taking in a unique atmosphere in the North East.

Alvarez told the Sunderland Echo: “I’ve heard quite a lot about the derby; speaking with my team-mates and other people that I’ve met here. I know it’s a very important game.

“Derbies are always the best games in the season, so I’m very happy to be able to be back and fit and experience the great atmosphere of this game.

“I hope we’ll be able to go on and win the game for the people of Sunderland. That would be magnificent for them.

“I have played in the Inter-AC Milan derby. That’s among the world’s biggest derbies and I know how special they are for supporters.

“We’ll go out and do our all to ensure the Sunderland fans go home happy.”

Alvarez is back to full fitness having suffered a knee injury earlier in the campaign.

He has been tipped to provide the attacking spark Sunderland have been lacking for much of the season by manager Gus Poyet.

A man capped on seven occasions by his country certainly has the ability to trouble Premier League defences, but English audiences have not seen enough of him of yet and the Black Cats will be hoping that he ignites during a crucial fixture on Sunday.

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