Kian Egan thinks One Direction could split up because they don't appear to have a close bond anymore.

The former Westlife star thinks the band would be stupid to break up after band member Liam Payne admitted the group hadn't seen each other for three months before the BRIT Awards in February.

Kian told The Sun Newspaper: ''One Direction would be fools to throw it away, absolute fools - and I get the feeling they will. I watch them and they don't seem to have this bond as tight as we had in Westlife - especially as they've only been together three or four years.''

Westlife - who formed in 1998 - had their fair share of boy band troubles over the years, following the departure of singer Brian McFadden in 2004, and a short hiatus four years later.

Despite their split in 2012, Kian, 33, insists the mutual respect between him and remaining band members - Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan - helped them to continue as a four-piece and enjoy their final years together.

He added: ''As we always said in Westlife, 'There's not one person in a band that's bigger than the band'.

''Respect each other and understand that it's a unit, it's not a bunch of individuals wanting to do what they want to do.''

He said Liam, along with bandmates Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan, should ''try to pull together and look out for each other and protect each other and stand by each other's side.''

The 'Midnight Memories' hitmakers went on a break in December but headed to work again this week as they prepare for their 'Where We Are' stadium tour, which will kick off on April 25 in Bogota, Colombia.