Sir Elton John hopes One Direction's pay cheque matches their work ethic.

The 'Rocket Man' hitmaker has defended the superstar boy band from their critics and insisted their vast wealth is justified by the effort they have put into their careers thus far.

He told the Mail on Sunday newspaper's Event magazine: ''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.' ''

While he praised the 'Best Song Ever' group, he only had sympathy for actress Lindsay Lohan, suggesting her recent troubles and the ''madness'' of her personal life has taken the emphasis away from her initially promising big screen career.

He added: ''I hate think of Lindsay because she 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.''