Newspaper headlines: Labour 'at war' and 'fans want Becks for England'

Battles to find new leaders - whether it's Labour MPs trying to oust Jeremy Corbyn, Conservatives jostling to succeed David Cameron, or the search for a new England football manager - fill the front pages.

The Daily Mirror gives over its entire front page to what it calls Labour's "civil war" following a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn's leadership.

On its inside pages, it adds: "The brutal fight for the future of the Labour Party was expected to kick off today with a daring challenge to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership from Angela Eagle."

It describes the former shadow business secretary as a high flyer who knows how to plot her moves - in reference to her having been a junior chess champion and an economist.

The i, which also leads on "Labour's fight to the death", says Ms Eagle's challenge comes after "another extraordinary day of infighting".

"With the party seemingly heading towards self-destruction, even David Cameron appealed to Mr Corbyn to resign, claiming it was not in the national interest for him to continue," the paper reports.

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Image caption There are puns aplenty as "high flyer" Angela Eagle "swoops" to challenge Jeremy Corbyn

The Times says Ms Eagle's challenge is a "gamble by party moderates as they have no guarantee of beating Mr Corbyn in a contest that could give him a fresh mandate from grassroots supporters".

However, it also quotes senior party sources as saying that Mr Corbyn wants to quit but is being prevented from doing so by "hard-left allies trying to keep control of Labour".

But Andrew Grice, writing in the i, says MPs close to the leader dismiss those claims. "They say he is genuinely buoyed by the strong support from Labour members, many of whom are angry about the MPs' plot to toppled him."

And the Mirror's Kevin Maguire says doubts are mounting that those backing Ms Eagle - Angela's Army as he calls them - can win and that they might "inadvertently transform a drama into a crisis if she lost and Corbyn triumphed a second time".


Becks appeal

Image copyright PA
Image caption David Beckham played 115 times for England

In English football's hour of need, who should they turn to?

According to the Daily Star, thousands of fans have "begged" former international David Beckham to come to the Three Lions' rescue by stepping in as the team's new manager following their Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.

One petition sent to the government (the new manager will be selected by the Football Association, not the government) says "David Beckham is our only hope and always has been", the paper reports.

It says Ladbrokes has cut his odds of becoming manager from 66-1 to 40-1. A spokeswoman told the paper: "If the momentum continues, it won't be long before he becomes a serious contender."

That's all assuming the former Manchester United player wants the job of course, and it doesn't yet appear as if anyone has asked him.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Wanted: A manager to deliver the World Cup to England again. Apply within.

Current England under-21s' team manager Gareth Southgate was the bookies' favourite to take over - possibly on an interim basis - but the Sun says he has "plunged the FA into crisis" by rejecting the opportunity.

The Daily Mail says Brazilian World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari - who turned the job down 10 years ago - wants to be considered, while the Times suggests Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger might be interested if the FA can wait a year.

The i has Wenger and his fellow Frenchman Laurent Blanc as the front-runners.

It's perhaps no surprise that there is no clear candidate given England's recent history, and, as the Guardian and others point out, on Wednesday even outgoing FA chairman Greg Dyke questioned why anyone would want to take on the role.

BBC Sport: Football gossip


Not always about winning though...

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Image caption Willis won £50,000 for progressing to the second round

Amid the English football gloom, along comes a plucky loser to offer a pick-me up and remind us all that sometimes winning isn't everything.

British tennis player Marcus Willis (world number 772), who came through six qualifying rounds to reach Wimbledon, lost in straight sets to 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer on Centre Court on Wednesday.

But, as the Daily Express puts it, Willis, 25, who nearly quit professional tennis earlier this year, "lifted the spirits of the entire nation despite tumbling out".

"A packed and raucous Centre Court was gripped by Willismania," the Daily Star reports.

"Never can a player have revelled in a losing cause more than Marcus Willis.

Image copyright All Sport/Getty Images
Image caption Marcus Willis was enthusiastically supported by family and girlfriend Jennifer Bate (L)

"When he finally opened his account in the eighth game, the volume cranked up to a level rarely heard since Andy Murray won the title."

The Mail highlights the fact that Willis's career earnings from tennis of £71,000 are dwarfed by Federer's millions - 74 of them in fact, However, Willis was "the loser who won the heart of Centre Court".

And, it seems, it's not the only heart he has won - with many of the papers focusing on the courtside presence of girlfriend Jennifer Bate and the expectation that the couple will marry.

"Love all round," says Metro's front page headline.


Knocking on No 10's door

Image caption Who will be stepping in as the next prime minister?

In the race to replace David Cameron in No 10, there appears to be two clear candidates emerging - Home Secretary Theresa May and former London mayor Boris Johnson.

They are expected to do battle with Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Writing in the Times, Mrs May has vowed to "make Britain a country that works for everyone" and to deliver a "bold, new positive vision for the future of our country".

The paper says she has set her sights on Mr Johnson's privileged background and character "with a barely coded attack on Westminster figures who do not appreciate hardship and think government 'is a game'".

'Clear favourite'

The Guardian says both Mrs May and Mr Johnson will claim to be the unifying candidates Britain needs after the "divisive EU referendum".

"She will address a key weakness - that she backed the losing side - by announcing that she would put a high-profile Leave campaigner in charge of a new department for Brexit," it reports.

Mr Johnson, the paper says, will signal that "he wants to continue his clams made during the EU referendum that he stands for helping ordinary people and not the elites".

The Times says polling carried out on its behalf among Tory members has Mrs May holding a 17-point lead over her main rival, but the Express leads on Mr Johnson's bid to be PM and says he is the "clear favourite".

Leaked email

The Daily Telegraph's coverage of the contest is dominated by a leaked email, sent to Justice Secretary Michael Gove by his wife, Sarah Vine.

In the message, sent to a member of the public by mistake, she tells her husband to secure guarantees on immigration controls in return for supporting Mr Johnson's leadership bid, the paper says.

"It was a rare and extraordinary glimpse of what is happening off-stage as the Conservatives decide who is going to be our next prime minister," writes the Telegraph's Gordon Rayner. "Some might even say startling."


What the correspondents say...

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Media captionFinancial Times energy correspondent Kiran Stacey, and head of news at the Times, Fay Schlesinger, join the BBC News Channel to review Thursday's papers.

Eye-catching headlines

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