Brian Kerr looks dejected after the final whistle in Basel
Brian Kerr will look forward to a friendly against the Czech Republic next month as the chance to finally begin building his own Ireland team.
When Kerr took charge of the national team at the start of the year he inherited the squad left behind by Mick McCarthy.
However Saturday's 2-0 defeat against Group 10 winners Switzerland ended Irish hopes of qualifying for Euro 2004 and Kerr will use the next 12 months to mould the team his way ahead of qualification for the 2006 World Cup.
"We had a provisional arrangement with the Czech Republic that if we didn't
make the play-offs we might meet them in a friendly in November," said Kerr.
"It will give me the chance to bring in some players who have shown potential.
"We have some players with us here in this squad who were not involved, the
likes of Stephen McPhail, Graham Kavanagh and Steven Reid, and there are a number
of other players who have been spoken about".
Those "other" players are likely to include four youngsters who have shown
promise in the under-21 team - Liam Miller, Andy Reid, Sean Thornton and John
The series of friendlies Kerr will now line up will also be used to enhance the experience of the likes of John O'Shea and Colin Healy, who both looked a little bit out of their depths against the Swiss.
"We are starting afresh and we have got a bit of time with the next few
friendly matches to look at a few players," said Kerr.
"We need some players
to emerge and show the potential to be our new leaders.
"The majority of this team are experienced but they need to play more often
and more consistently.
"We need to get the blend right for both home and away
matches, and we need to be able to play in different ways and not be so rigid in our formations".
Kerr has now been in charge for 10 matches, including six qualifiers, and the
Swiss result was his first defeat.
"Any defeat annoys me and upsets me and I will work harder to try and improve
things and make it better for the future," he added.
"I am not giving any
excuses, we did not do well enough".
The most disappointing aspect of the Irish performance was the lack of urgency from a team which had to win the game to keep their hopes alive.
Damien Duff, apart, the Irish team demonstrated little creativity and central midfield was especially poor with neither Matt Holland nor Colin Healy able to compete effectively.