One Direction
One Direction’s pictured together on Dec. 11, 2014 in London. Getty Images

One Direction has been on hiatus since 2016 as the band members focus on their solo careers, but according to Niall Horan, the group could get back together sooner rather than later.

While Horan doesn’t have a date in mind for the reunion, he told Billboard he would prefer it happens before he hits 40. “When it will be, I don’t know,” said Horan. “I prefer not to do it after I’m 40. I’d prefer the next few years.”

Horan also stated in the interview his belief that the group will be back together with Simon Cowell, who publicly called him out after he switched record labels. “We’ll always have mutual respect. When we get back to the band, he’ll be at the forefront again.”

As for Zayn Malik, the one member to actually leave the group, Horan had this to say about the “Still Got Time” singer: “Oh, pfft. I know what Zayn’s like — outspoken, and fair play to him.”

READ: Harry Styles Won’t Rule Out A One Direction Reunion

Although Horan may not be as close to Zayn as before, the singer still remains close with Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson. “I see Louis and [his son] little Freddie all the time. He lives around the corner from me. He picked up gifts for Payne’s month-old boy that he hasn’t been able to present yet, because their schedules haven’t aligned,” he said.

Unfortunately for Horan and fans of One Direction, Malik’s previous comments about the group don’t seem like they would lead to him to return. Last year, Zayn told Rolling Stone he knew he wanted to leave the boy band during his first year.

“I always wanted to go, from the first year, really,” he said. “I never really wanted to be in the band. I just gave it a go because it was there at the time.” Zayn also told Fader that he wasn’t a fan of the “direction” the band was going in.

“I realized I couldn’t put any input in,” he said. “I couldn’t give my opinion on this or that because it didn’t fit the grain of what we were as a band and what we represented.” He added, “I want to make music that is cool… I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.”

But Horan isn’t the first member to discuss a One Direction reunion. During an April interview with Rolling Stone, Styles said he wouldn’t dismiss the idea of the group getting back together. “I love the band, and would never rule out anything in the future,” he said. “The band changed my life, gave me everything.”

According to the “Sign of the Times” singer, it was in late 2014 that he brought up the idea of One Direction taking a hiatus. “I didn’t want to exhaust our fan base,” Styles said. “If you’re shortsighted, you can think, ‘Let’s just keep touring,’ but we all thought too much of the group than to let that happen. You realize you’re exhausted and you don’t want to drain people’s belief in you.”