Simon Cowell has labelled Louis Tomlinson his "mini me" after the One Direction star signed a solo deal with his label.

It was reported last week (ends04Dec16) that Louis was the latest member of the famed boy band to step out on his own. Sources told Britain's The Sun newspaper that while Louis hadn't initially planned to launch a solo career, he had worked on some material which bosses at Simon's Syco Music label were left "really excited" by.

And now music mogul Simon has confirmed the news, but revealed Louis had always intended to put out material on his own.

"I think that was always the plan, I love Louis, he’s a great guy," Simon told The Sun. "He’s part of the family and we’ve become friends."

Taking some tips from Simon by also founding his own record label under the Syco imprint, The X Factor boss gushed that the 24-year-old is the image of his mentor.

"He’s got a label with us and he’s signed an artist, so he’s like a mini me now," Simon smiled.

Louis was one of the creative forces behind One Direction, co-writing a number of the group's hits including Steal My Girl, Perfect and History.

All of the One Direction boys are now striking out on their own; Louis, Niall Horan and Liam Payne have all signed solo deals, while Harry Styles is working on an acting career.

Louis has also become a father in the last 12 months, with bandmate Liam looking set to become the second One Direction member to become a dad after his girlfriend Cheryl was recently pictured showing off a baby bump.

During his chat with The Sun Simon also reignited his 10-year feud with British singer Will Young, insisting the former Pop Idol winner took himself too seriously on U.K. TV talent show Strictly Come Dancing. Will pulled out of the dancing contest in October.