Michael Beale, who coached Reading midfielder Felipe Araruna during their time at Sao Paulo, is currently working under Steven Gerrard as a first team coach at Rangers. However, his road to becoming a professional coach was rather different, to say the least.
In 2017 Beale told ‘TheSetPieces’ of how his coaching career really begun in the late 90s, when he had paid £32 to hire his local church hall in Bromley. He recalls pushing the chairs up against the wall and charging children £4 for futsal lessons: “Only three turned up at the start. It wasn’t the greatest business plan but it grew”.
The aspiring coach was hired by Chelsea, part time, to join their development scheme in the year 2002; over a period of ten years Beale made his way through the ranks, slowly gaining further responsibility before moving on to join Liverpool’s under-23 side as their assistant manager.
In 2014, Beale was made manager of the Liverpool under-23 side and spent three years in charge before Rogerio Ceni offered him the opportunity to become assistant manager of one of Brazil’s biggest clubs: São Paulo. Club legend, Ceni had toured England, observing various Premier League clubs’ training sessions and Michael Beale’s session had impressed him the most.
It was at São Paulo that Beale came to meet a 20 year-old Brazilian prospect named Felipe Araruna. The Englishman had plenty of experience in youth football and talent spotting, so his judgement of São Paulo’s famous academy wasn’t taken lightly by Rogerio Ceni.
Three or so years later, the youngster would make the move to England that many South American kids dream of, or more specifically the move to Berkshire. Felipe Araruna signed for Reading FC from São Paulo on a free in the January transfer window of 2020, and I was fortunate enough to speak to his former coach Michael Beale about what the 24 year-old can bring to the Madejski.
Beale told TTE about when he first spotted the new Reading signing:
“He came through the very famous academy “Cotia” which is renowned for developing world-class players. I first saw him play on a visit from Liverpool in November 2016, prior to joining the club in January 2017. The youth game I watched, he was playing in midfield alongside his friend Eder Militao (now playing for Real Madrid).”
The management team at São Paulo decided that Felipe Araruna’s performances were worthy of a promotion to the first team, alongside seven other players:
“He was excellent in the game and we decided that he would be one of the eight players that we would promote from the youth side into the senior squad for pre-season.”
When training with São Paulo’s first team, Beale came to get to know Araruna both as a player and on a personal level. When asked about Araruna’s personality and his character within the dressing room, Beale said:
“Felipe is a great kid, someone that was hugely popular at Sao Paulo within the coaching staff and his fellow players. He is a quiet boy off the pitch, but hugely intelligent and someone that I really liked to talk to and coach in my time at Sao Paulo.”
“I don’t think he will have any issues in adapting to England and a different culture. He is very mature for his age and speaks English well. I think he will grow with each game that he plays and in the future he will be an asset for Reading.”
The former Liverpool and Chelsea coach spoke about Araruna’s versatility and his ability to play as an inverted full-back when in the right-back role, offering support to the midfield going forward, but equally fulfilling his defensive duties too.
“His main position is as a midfielder - he can play in a two-man midfield or three. He is very comfortable on the ball and has excellent receiving and passing skills. However, he made his first-team debut as a right back and in this position, he is like an extra midfielder who is up to move up and inside to help the team build attacks.”
Finally, Beale spoke of his admiration for Reading’s latest addition and how pleased he is that Araruna has the opportunity to shine alongside players that he has worked with at his previous clubs.
“I am so happy that he has this chance to play in England and alongside other players that I know well from my time at Liverpool (Ejaria) and Chelsea (Swift). I will be keeping a close eye on his progress.”