Chris Coleman: Wales strengthened by Northern Ireland draw

Lloyd Isgrove attacks for Wales against Northern Ireland
Lloyd Isgrove was one of two Wales debutants against Northern Ireland

Wales manager Chris Coleman says their 1-1 friendly draw against Northern Ireland will help build their strength in depth ahead of Euro 2016.

Without several first-team players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, a much-changed Wales gave debuts to Lloyd Isgrove and goalkeeper Danny Ward.

They fell behind to Craig Cathcart's goal before substitute Simon Church won and scored an 89th-minute penalty.

"We got what we wanted out of it," said Coleman.

"We didn't lose, which is important because we were 1-0 down with five minutes to go.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: Wales 1-1 N Ireland

"More importantly for the stage where we're at going into the tournament, one or two of the lads got more experience.

"That makes the group we've got, the strength in depth, bigger going into the summer, which is the most important thing."

This was Wales' second warm-up match in preparation for Euro 2016, their first appearance at a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.

In their previous friendly, a defeat against the Netherlands in November, Coleman's side also had to contend without the integral Bale and Ramsey.

Both will be missing again for Wales' next warm-up match against Ukraine in Kiev on Monday.

Simon Church fires-in from the spot for Wales
Simon Church's 89th-minute penalty saved Wales from a second successive home defeat

Coleman believes playing these fixtures without some of their most important players offers useful preparation ahead of this summer's competition in France.

"Even if we were going into the game [against Northern Ireland] at our strongest, it would have been a tough one," he added.

"We had a few bodies missing but you learn about other players.

"It gave us a chance to look a bit closer at players like Lloyd Isgrove and Danny Ward. It's nice to give them a bit of experience.

"Sometimes it's about more than the result.

"Even if we hadn't got the equaliser, I still wouldn't have been too disappointed because the big picture is we've got more bodies now with more international experience building up to the tournament in the summer."

Top Stories