Elton John has praised One Direction for their strong work ethic.

The 66-year-old singer has defended the X Factor boy band from critics, insisting that their big paychecks are justified by the effort and dedication they have put into their careers.

Speaking to Event magazine, Elton said: ''If you ignore the young or the old you are doomed. They are a great British pop band. I just hope they are getting good money because they are working bloody hard.

''I like their songs. I think they are at the age where it doesn't matter if you don't sleep because you are just enjoying the fame so much.

''I don't think they'd work if one of them left but I just think, 'Good luck to them.' ''

Elton further explained that he has sympathy for Mean Girls actress Lindsay Lohan, adding: ''I think Lindsay has a talent, she was a great actress, and then it became all about the madness, the parties and everyone forgets about what put them there in the first place - they get lost in the idea that they are famous for who they are, not what they are.''

Elton John’s new album The Diving Board is released on September 16