Though he made only two appearances in the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, left-back Nilson Loyola did enough to earn himself a place in the Peru squad as back-up to Miguel Trauco.
The youngster began his career as a forward, like his father Cesar, who played for Peru in the 1980s. On arriving at Melgar from Sporting Cristal’s youth team in 2014, however, he became a makeshift full-back.
Loyola performed so well in the position that he made it his, helping his club win two league titles.
He was drafted into the national team when Ricardo Gareca began overhauling the side in the middle of 2016. A regular presence in the squad, the young defender came on as a substitute in the World Cup qualifier against Paraguay and then deputised for the suspended Trauco against Brazil.