COACH Rob Page felt his Wales youngsters were unlucky not to take all three points as they opened their Toulon campaign with an excellent draw against France.

The hosts, 12-time winners of the tournament, had plenty of possession in Aubagne but were denied by a fine team performance as the young Dragons started the tournament in positive fashion.

Page’s side, with former Newport County AFC star Regan Poole at the heart of the defence, frustrated the French attack throughout.

And they created numerous chances to secure victory in their opening game, with Jack Evans and Nathan Broadhead both being denied by fine saves from France goalkeeper Jean Bertaud.

The intermediate team manager was understandably delighted with the effort and application from his players against the host nation.

“I think we created enough chances to win the game,” he said. “We had the more clear-cut openings and on another day, it could have been 5-1.

“They (France) had the lion’s share of possession which we knew they would, because they are a good team and are comfortable on the ball.

“But overall, I was pleased with the level of performance and commitment that the boys showed. There are areas we can improve on but it is an encouraging start for us.”

The hosts were backed by a vocal crowd at Stade de Lattre but the game produced a lack of goalmouth action in the early stages.

Wales had the first chance of note as Daniel James found space on the left edge of the penalty area but the winger’s shot was too high from a tight angle.

At the other end, Lorenzo Callegari tried his luck from distance but his right-foot drive was a couple of yards too high as it failed to trouble Luke Pilling in the Wales goal.

After the break Wales came close on two occasions as Broadhead drew a smart save from Bertaud before Poole’s side-foot strike was well held by the goalkeeper.

Page’s side continued to press, however, and they created the best opening on 56 minutes as Broadhead fed Jack Evans in the box but the Swansea midfielder couldn’t beat the Bertaud.

With that scare fresh in the minds of the home side, Jean-Philippe Mateta drove at the Wales defence before feeding Florent Aye in the penalty area, but the striker’s low curling effort was the wrong side of the left-hand post.

France pressed for a winner in the closing stages as they upped the tempo, and Wales had Pilling to thank for keeping the scores level on three separate occasions.

The Tranmere stopper did well to twice tip away whipped crosses from Jeremy Livolant, before the keeper saved his best until last with a fine one-handed stop to deny Livolant a late winner as the winger’s header looked destined for the far corner.

“Luke was outstanding,” added Page. “You can tell he’s been in that environment where he’s playing men’s football every week.

“The two centre halves also did really well, I thought Joe (Rodon) led by example but the whole team gave everything for the cause.

“The boys worked their socks off, everyone took on board what we asked of them front a defensive point of view.

“If we give that level of performance it encourages me that we can go on and win games.”

Wales take on Bahrain at 4pm on Friday and Ivory Coast on Monday afternoon.