For Michael Beale, it has been a whirlwind six months indeed.
He started the year as Liverpool’s under-23s coach, leaving in January to take up a role as assistant manager with Brazilian giants Sao Paolo.
His six months there were eventful, to say the least. Beale resigned his position earlier this month, and has since returned to Merseyside.
On his time in Brazil…
It was a unique experience, and it’s brought me on another level. Some of the experiences were huge – playing in front of 52,000, having 15,000 fans waiting for your at the airport, winning the derby against Palmeiras, playing Santos at the stadium Pele played in – and I can learn a lot from them.
I learned a lot about people, and about myself, and I think in years to come I will look back on it as a really important time. Ideally it would have lasted a little longer of course, but it was never going to be my home. It was always about pushing me on to the next level, and I think it has probably done that.
Wherever I work next, I know I will be a hell of a lot more confident and experienced.
On his next move…
It’s hard because you never know what’s going to happen. I came to Liverpool in August 2012, we’re now arriving in August 2017 and if you’d said what was going to happen in those five years…
I’ve always wanted to be an U18 coach because it’s the one job I haven’t done. I’ve done every job at Academy level but skipped that. I don’t want to finish my career – hopefully in another 30 years! – having not done that. I also want to be a head of youth and a manager. Now what order that comes in, doesn’t really matter!
What I have learned is; you have to believe in the project. I believed in the project at Liverpool and that’s why I gave it what I did. I left another club after six months because I didn’t believe in the project.
My family will stay in Liverpool and I will maybe go abroad again – not so far this time – or maybe see if something comes up in England. I’m taking each day as it comes really, I feel like I need a break and to be a dad for the minute.
In July or August there aren’t really jobs around, so maybe around Christmas or just before, who knows?
On why he’d love to return to Liverpool one day…
The plan one day is to come back to Liverpool, I have to be honest. It’s clear that I would like that.
But at this moment there is no room, and my friends are in the jobs that I would like! I’m not going to take their job because they are my friends, and I am very much supportive of them and wishing them well this year.
But the plan is one day to come back and work there again, because it was a fantastic experience for me and my family.
Maybe it will be a case of leaving the country until Liverpool have got room for me!
On Trent Alexander-Arnold and the strength of Liverpool’s Academy…
He’s gone from strength to strength. Even this pre-season, I’m watching him and thinking Clyne has got his work cut out. Trent doesn’t look like he wants to wait any more, he looks like he believes he’s ready to challenge now!
I think with the amount of games, he’ll be a first team challenger who can play 15 plus games hopefully and be very exciting. If you can show in training, and maybe dislodge an England right-back, then it’s very exciting.
Ben Woodburn had a great year but people need to be patient with him, young Rhian Brewster has come up from London and done well. It was fantastic to see Sheyi and Ovie doing well at the U20 World Cup, and to see Ryan Kent getting young player of the year at Barnsley as well as Danny Ward at Huddersfield. There was a lot to celebrate at the Academy last year.
I was extremely proud of Harry Wilson and the unbelievable season he had. He needed it, not just for himself but to show everyone that he was still a very good player. When he got in to the first team, that was one of my proudest moments as a coach.
On the Academy stars to watch in 2017-18…
I’ll stick with the real local ones. Looking at Curtis Jones’ development at the U18s, developing under Stevie and Tom Culshaw will be really interesting to see.
Maybe Liam Coyle and Curtis with the U18s there, you’ve got two local lads and I think that will be quite exciting.
I’m looking forward to lots. I want to see Cam Brannagan go out on loan and rebirth himself after a disappointing year, I’m looking to see Ryan Kent, Harry Wilson, Sheyi Ojo kick on too.
Rhian Brewster I think will have a big year, and I’d love to see Ovie Ejaria – he’s grown so much in the last year, now I think we’ll see that on the pitch. There are so many – Ben Woodburn of course – that I’m excited about seeing.