Richard Ashcroft respects Ed Sheeran because he has earned his success through hard work.

Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft

The former Verve frontman is always disappointed when he hears or reads criticism directed at his fellow singer/songwriter because Ed, 27, is an artist who has made it to the top charts on his own terms just like him and other acts like Oasis.

However, Richard is not a fan of all his songs, especially his 2017 single 'Galway Girl'.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, the 'Lucky Man' hitmaker said: "Ed Sheeran, I don't like the fact he gets a lot of stick. I like the fact he works hard, and God knows how much money he pays to the tax man each year. He might have overstepped the mark with that Irish tune but success is not worth hanging and trying someone for. Success is hard to come by. The success where you have worked damn hard and are doing your own thing and suddenly, the mainstream get to hear it and it all comes together."

Richard - who has just released his fifth solo album 'Natural Rebel' - thinks Ed gets a similar response from his fans when he walks on stage that he and his friend Liam Gallagher do, because they know they're playing real music.

He added: "Touring places I've never played before and making Natural Rebel has energised me and that's why I'm buzzing now. I saw footage of me leaving the stage in Mexico and there were fans screaming like it was Eddie Cochran in the 1950s. It made me think, 'What happened to all the icons?' Who would go through this situation like a bull in a china shop? Or take a left turn when everyone is going right? So that is what I'm into. In the end, that is what everyone is going to be hungering for - a bit of originality and uniqueness to a person or an act. Everyone is so tame nowadays. They want to be rich and famous. You've got an amazing ar*e and suddenly you are on the front of everything! I'm talking about the feeling that comes with performing real music, walking on and walking off with the crowd not knowing what you're going to do."

Richard supported former Oasis singer Liam, 45, on his 'As You Were' solo tour of North America and at his mammoth UK concerts this summer at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester and Finsbury Park in London.

The pair's friendship began back in the 90s when Oasis and The Verve toured together and he insists their popularity endures to this decade because they represent the "real rock and roll" spirit.

He said: "People believe in proper live gigs and me and Liam have lived it, so fans respect us for that. We grafted and sweated and took s**t but we carried on. We both have a mutual, symbiotic relationship with our crowds. They know it's time for real rock and roll."