Newspaper headlines: No Brexit 'rush' and Allardyce for England

Theresa May's meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes several front pages, as the papers continue to focus on Brexit.

Under the headline "Merkel gives May time for Brexit talks", the Financial Times says Mrs Merkel is resisting calls from some EU leaders to press for the quick activation of the "Article 50 divorce clause".

The Telegraph says Mrs Merkel warned Mrs May not to rush, and said the UK was right to "take a moment" before beginning the formal process.

But the i puts it the other way round, saying Mrs May asked her German counterpart: "What's the rush?"

The PM said Britain would not be rushed into leaving the EU and insisted formal talks would not begin until next year, the paper adds.

Meanwhile the Express says Mrs May delivered a "no-nonsense" message: "Brexit means Brexit."

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The Sun says both women "played hardball", with Mrs May making it clear that free movement of people must end.

But the Mail says free movement is a "hallowed concept" in Germany, and it quotes Mrs Merkel as saying she would "stand up" for German interests in the Brexit talks.

The i's Michael Day says Britain faces years of "painful haggling" over the terms of Brexit.

He says Mrs May's meeting with Francois Hollande today will be more difficult than her trip to Germany, as the French president is committed to a "United States of Europe" and will be in "no mood for small talk".

'Ballerina wielding a truncheon'

Before going to Germany, Mrs May faced her first session of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

Her performance is widely praised, and a Times cartoon depicts her beating Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with a handbag as he lies on the ground.

The Telegraph says Mrs May was "confident and fluent", and it praises her "excellent start" as PM.

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The Mirror's James Beattie says Mrs May showed that "beneath the business suit lies, if not a flamboyant showgirl, a half-decent Margaret Thatcher impersonator".

The new PM "danced around" Mr Corbyn "like a ballerina, albeit one wielding a truncheon", he adds.

References to Mrs Thatcher feature in several papers, and in the Express David Maddox says it was "as if the ghost of the Iron Lady had returned".

Under the headline "Iron Lady 2.0 welcomes back nasty party", the Guardian's John Crace says Mrs May was "an uncompromising, graceless and brittle figure" in front of a "horde" of backbenchers.

He says the PM "could have been anyone" - Sensitive Theresa, Caring Theresa, Funny Theresa - but she decided: "Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Maggie."

'Right man at the right time'

Sam Allardyce will "land his dream job today" when he is confirmed as England football manager, the Sun reports.

As most of the papers express optimism - but not wild excitement - the Express asks whether "Big Sam" is "big enough for the job".

Few pundits seem entirely sure, but former player Jamie Redknapp says Allardyce will be a "refreshing change".

The last management were "too scared of what the press thought", but the new manager has "broad shoulders" and will "do things his way", he writes.

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In the Times, Matt Hughes says Allardyce is the "pragmatic solution" to English football's difficulties.

The new boss's CV is not that of an "elite manager", but England have "long since ceased to be a world-class team" and Allardyce is the best of the available candidates, he says.

Writing in the i, Ian Herbert says England are "barely a top-10 nation", and argues that they "simply need an individual to get more out of their players".

He says Allardyce is the man to do that and, referring to England's Euro 2016 exit, he adds: "You could have bet the house on Allardyce getting the necessary done against Iceland."

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"Allardyce gets the call after Wenger snub" is the Telegraph's headline, as it says Arsenal's Arsene Wenger was the FA's first choice.

Chief football writer Sam Wallace says Allardyce may be the "right man at the right time", but the FA may also feel he is the "only man for the job".

One person who might disagree is Allardyce's wife, who - according to the Mail - was promised he would "quit football so they could go on cruises".

Eye-catching headlines

  • Breastfeeding could be allowed in Commons as "role model" to society: An independent review has said MPs should be permitted to breastfeed their babies in the House of Commons to set an example to the country, the Telegraph reports.
  • My name really is Michael Caine:The Sun says tougher airport security has forced actor Sir Michael Caine to change his name - to Michael Caine. His birth name is Maurice Micklewhite, but he said he faced constant suspicion when presenting a passport with that name on it, so he changed it.
  • Diamond ring lost at sea is found six days later by diver: A student who lost a £10,000 diamond ring at sea called in expert divers - and one of them recovered the family heirloom from the seabed, the Express reports.
  • Truth about Trump's hair:In the Mirror, Donald Trump's former hairdresser has revealed the "secrets of his infamous barnet". Amy Lasch dismissed claims the hairdo is a toupee or the result of hair transplants, the paper says.
Image copyright AP

'Indoor lifestyles'

New guidelines suggest Britons should take a daily vitamin D supplement, the Times reports.

Experts say a lack of exposure to sunshine - caused by "indoor lifestyles" - leaves people with the "almost impossible" task of reaching healthy levels of the vitamin through diet alone, the paper says.

The Guardian calls it a "push to triple intake of vitamin D" in a bid to protect people against bone and muscle diseases.

One item which is unlikely to boost people's health - or their bank balance - is the "world's most expensive doughnut", which features in the Daily Star.

The treat is made from ingredients including saffron, champagne and caviar, and the price is £1,500, the paper says.

What the commentators say

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Media captionLaw professor Colleen Graffy and Daily Mirror political editor Jason Beattie join the BBC News Channel to discuss Thursday's front pages.

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