Another tough match-up for Alnwick – against Manchester United star de Gea

Jak Alnwick gathers under pressure from Sunderland's Connor Wickham

Jak Alnwick gathers under pressure from Sunderland's Connor Wickham

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THE contrast couldn’t be greater.

In Newcastle United’s goal at Old Trafford today will be Jak Alnwick, a 21-year-old Geordie starting out in his career.

At the other end will be Spain international David de Gea, one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

If Newcastle are to take anything from the game, they will more than likely have to beat de Gea, which is no mean feat as Liverpool recently found out.

The 24-year-old was outstanding in Man United’s recent 3-0 win over Brendan Rodgers’s side.

Thanks to de Gea, the scoreline didn’t tell the whole story.

“There’s two contrasts in the goal,” said Pardew.

“Jak on his second or third Premier League start, and de Gea pushing (Bayern Munich’s Manuel) Neuer for the title of being the best goalkeeper in the world.

“He’s a fantastic shot-stopper.

“He still has parts of his game that he still wishes to develop, but in one on one situations he excels and covers a lot of the areas where goalscorers want to score in, with his feet, his hands and how he wants to approach things.

“He makes it very difficult to score so you have to go with power and go for the corners.”

Alnwick has started Newcastle’s last three games.

The Hexham-born player, the club’s third-choice goalkeeper, has had a baptism of fire over the past fortnight.

Alnwick came off the bench to face league leaders Chelsea on what was his debut, and he played in away games against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, which both ended in defeat.

Then came Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby, decided by a 90th-minute strike from Adam Johnson.

However, Alnwick ably dealt with everything Sunderland threw at him.

And there was nothing he could do to stop Johnson’s late strike.

And Pardew, without injured pair Tim Krul and Rob Elliot, hopes Alnwick will be stronger for the experience.