Martin O’Neill is confident his Republic of Ireland side will be ready for the Euro 2020 qualifiers despite their relegation from the Nations League Group B4.
The Ireland coach watched his players round off their campaign with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against group winners Denmark in Aarhus on Monday night – secured despite knowing they were relegated before a ball was kicked.
O’Neill was relatively pleased with the performance against the Danes although it was mainly the defence which shone as the hosts enjoyed 75% of the possession and dominated throughout.
ROI finish the Nations League with just two points from their four games, while they are now four games without a goal and have won only one of their past 11 games – a friendly against the United States.
O’Neill and his squad will now await the qualification draw for the Euro 2020 finals and the 66-year-old feels confident they will be in a better place by the time that campaign starts in March.
He said: “Our young players are bedding in but this is international football and it’s a massive step up for them. Many of them are not getting regular first-team football with their clubs and are trying to adjust.
“It’s been a tough year but we have not chosen easy games. We’ve tried to play the hard games in our friendlies – you learn more by playing tough opposition and that’s been the case over the year.
“We are making progress. The young players are coming through and, with guidance from the senior players, they’ll be ready in a few months’ time.”
World champions France are 4.75 to win Euro 2020, while Germany are 6.50.