If there was one Covid consolation for Ireland manager Stephen Kenny at the end of last month's international window, it was that there was little talk of results. 

Such was the chaos that surrounded not one, but all three Ireland games, that all the talk of the coronavirus even overshadowed Ireland’s exit from the Euro 2020 play-offs with the heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat in Bratislava. 

And the very nature of international football meant that shortly after that final whistle in Helsinki, at the end of a gruelling three-games-in-three-countries stretch, the focus quickly returned to all things club, with the players all returning to their main employers. 

Kenny received very little by way of criticism to how he handled the entire duration of the camp, and was largely commended for how he dealt with the Covid chaos, the way he set up his team and how they performed in that vital game in Slovakia. 

The Wales game was written off before a ball was kicked, such was the drama on the morning of the game as a result of so many players missing, where the Granny Rule was completely trumped by the Close Contact equivalent. 

And to finish, the Irish preparations for the away match in Finland were again disrupted and delayed as a result of another positive test, and by the time the manager faced the media for the post-match press conference following the narrow defeat in Helsinki, there was no Irish press in attendance, resulting in very little scrutiny or reflection on the three matches. 

Five games. No wins. One goal. Two defeats. Three if you include the penalty shoot-out Euro exit. 

A simple summation would suggest that the manager needs to do better if he is to succeed in the top job in the land. 

For all the possession, the fruits of the Irish team’s effort yielded little in terms of results, and as we approach the business end of the Nations League campaign, Ireland remain in danger of facing relegation to the next tier down. 

Yet in reality, the manager will probably be quite happy with how things have started during his short tenure in charge of the national team. 

The toughest task was a hurdle that appeared to be jumped and cleared within a week of joining up with his new squad. 

Nothing but positive notes from the players throughout those early days, who embraced the manager’s methods and appeared excited at the prospect of being told that they were, in fact, good enough to play football the way that it is meant to be played. 

Kenny and his analysts have forensically reviewed the games from the last window and according to the manager’s appraisal of the performances, there are a lot of positives to take from the games to bring into the next batch. 

"I think you have to look at each of the games in isolation," said Kenny.

"I have, with my analysts, gone through chances created and scored in the previous three games.

"We’ve only conceded four chances over the three games. There were two chances in the game against Slovakia - Darren made a save from a counter attack from our own corner and Shane Duffy cleared one off the line - we didn’t concede any chances against Wales at all and Finland hardly anything, a couple. 

"And we probably created 15 chances in the three games. 

"We're creating chances and playing well without taking them and that's what we have to live with, but I have great faith in the young strikers coming through." 

Looking ahead to the first of the three games, and it is a tall order for Kenny’s side to go to Wembley and get a result. 

The manager must be credited for taking on a tough game when still in need of a win, and he remarked that they could have set up an easy home game against Gibraltar, but preferred to test his side in what he describes as a "good game". 

Forgetting the tribal rivalry that exists going into any game against the English, on paper, the reality is that Ireland are taking on a team that are ranked number four in the world and playing away from home. 

So Kenny will be looking for a reaction to see how his side fare in a match where they are not expected to get a result. 

The last time these two sides could be separated was 1988, which ended in favour of the Irish in Stuttgart, while they have played out five draws and an abandoned game in Dublin, which Ireland were winning 1-0. 

In reality, the England game will be the real resumption of the Kenny era following the play-off defeat, as the matches against Wales and Finland were far from the preferred starting XI. 

Expectations in Wembley will be mainly moderate with some sort of momentum hoped for to take into the two competitive games in Wales and at home to Bulgaria. 

The manager has already started to identify key players within his squad, and it is clear that he is hoping that players like Callum Robinson and Callum O’Dowda will really shine during his tenure. 

The defensive unit was intact before he took the job, however, Kenny will still be looking for options at the back, with Dara O’Shea knocking on the door, while also indicating that goalkeeper Darren Randolph has competition building for that number one jersey. 

Others have played their way into contention, with Alan Browne’s introduction in Bratislava a real success, while players like Harry Arter and Robbie Brady have also looked lively, despite the former enjoying only limited time with the squad. 

But the manager still must acknowledge that his attacking plans remain a work in progress and that was accentuated by the retirement of David McGoldrick. 

Kenny is continuing with his youth policy for these games with Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah preferred ahead of experienced forward Shane Long, while the introduction of James Collins hints that the manager might be willing to go a bit more direct at times to grab that much needed win. 

By the end of this upcoming window, the manager will have had three months and eight games to get to know his squad and put a real plan in place for the World Cup qualifiers, which will arrived soon enough once this 2020 Covid calendar moves on a digit. 

Should Ireland return similar figures of 15 chances with just four conceded, the likelihood is that Kenny’s side will come out of this triple-header with at least one win and several strikes in the "goals for" category. 

And if not, a long lonely winter may be in store, with the critics sharpening their pencils ahead of the 2021 campaign.