Louis Walsh has said he thinks Zayn Malik leaving One Direction is a good thing for him and the band.

The former X Factor judge and Westlife manager thinks Zayn will be happier as a solo artist and that the rest of the band will work harder as a four-piece.

Louis said: “Nothing lasts forever and every pop band has a shelf life of so many years. But when Geri left the Spice Girls, it didn’t finish, they had a good few years, when Robbie left Take That it was the same. When Brian McFadden left Westlife they actually worked harder as a four piece.

“So with One Direction, I think the boys are going to have to work harder and I think it might help them. They’re going to gel, they know they have to get out there and do it.

“I think in a way it might be a good thing for both of them. Because if he wasn’t happy he can have a solo career and One Direction are a global amazing phenomenon.

“It’s going to run and run. It mightn’t be what it was, but nothing is, it’s still going to be good.

Zayn with the rest of the band in December 2014 (Ian West/PA)
Zayn with the rest of the band in December 2014 (Ian West/PA)

“Two of the Rolling Stones are not there any more but nobody cares, it’s still the Rolling Stones It’s still One Direction it’s still going to be great.”

Louis has joined forces with O2 to celebrate their new and improved Big Bundles for Pay & Go customers. Fans can request a personalised confidence-boosting video message from him by tweeting @O2 using #BigMeUpLouisWalsh.

He has sent Zayn a message wishing him good luck with his solo career.