Ed Sheeran is a very competitive songwriter.

The 'Thinking Out Loud' hitmaker always wants to be the best - but insists that isn't down to wanting to be at the top but instead is about bettering himself.

He told People magazine: ''A lot of people call out the competitive side of me, but if you're a basketball player, you should [aim to] be better than LeBron James. You can't just be like, 'Oh, I'm happy in my lane.' You have to aim for the top. I don't think any artist will do what Adele's done. I don't think I could do what Adele's done, but if you don't aim there then you won't get there ... I make music for me, but when it comes to a career, what is the fun of not [being competitive]? People get very confused with me as competitive because they think I'm making the music for that and to get bigger, but it's just work ethic.''

Meanwhile, the flame-haired singer previously confessed he doesn't use streaming service himself and instead prefers to go on recommendations from his pals or dig out earworms played on the wireless.

He said: ''I go on what people give me, like CDs, or if they recommend something on iTunes. Or I listen to the radio. It usually takes three people to get me to listen to something ... I remember someone told me to listen to Mumford & Sons, and I didn't. Then another person did, and I didn't, and then the third person I was like, 'I should.'''