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Coleman looks at the bigger picture after home draw

Chris Coleman was pleased with Wales’ performance in the 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland, admitting his understrength squad had given him plenty to ponder ahead of Euro 2016.

Simon Church made sure Wales avoided defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, the substitute cancelling out Craig Cathcart’s opening goal by converting an 89th-minute penalty.

The hosts – without influential duo Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey – had struggled to break down a stubborn visiting defence prior to Church’s spot-kick.

While pleased to salvage a draw in the friendly fixture, Coleman admitted it was all about the “bigger picture” ahead of Wales’ debut appearance in the European Championship.

“It was always going to be a tough one for us. We have seven or eight players [missing] who would normally start, or who had started in the [qualifying] campaign,” he told BBC Sport.

“But it was a bigger picture tonight that we had to look at.

“Danny Ward won his first cap, which is great for him, Lloyd Isgrove got his first cap, which is brilliant. It was nice to see Andrew Crofts coming back too, plus Adam Matthews has got back in the frame and played 90 minutes.

“We would have got a lot of positives from it even if we had lost 1-0. I was pleased for the guys. We got out of it what we wanted.”

Wales travel to face Ukraine on Monday. Coleman is ready to make changes for the friendly as he continues to assess his options.

“I will see how the guys are after this game. Ukraine is going to be another tough one,” he added.

“We will have to wait and see how the guys recover. Then I’ll know what I’ve got to play with.”

Thu 24 Mar, 2016
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