Former Birmingham City footballer Steve Claridge drove at speeds of about 100mph in treacherous conditions because he was desperate for the toilet, a court heard.

Claridge, 42, appeared at Coventry Crown Court to deny a charge of dangerous driving, which relates to an incident on the Solihull stretch of the M42 on December 30, 2006.

He was pulled over by an unmarked police car on the southbound carriageway between junctions 4 (Shirley) and 3 (M40), after repeatedly undertaking other vehicles on the road, the court heard.

Nigel Wilkins, prosecuting, told the jury that dangerous driving is that which "falls far below what is to be expected of a competent or careful driver".

He went on the describe how football pundit Claridge drove at high speed on wet roads, repeatedly switching lanes and causing other drivers to "brake sharply in order to let him in".

Describing Claridge's actions as a "consistent piece of dangerous driving", Mr Wilkins added: "The prosecution would say that any one of these manoeuvres, taking into account the speed, the consideration of other road users and the weather, would itself be in accordance with the definition of dangerous driving."

Pc Geoff Bell, one of the two uniformed officers to pull Claridge over, told the court: "The road conditions were fairly treacherous, the roads were wet, there were quite a lot of puddles on the carriageway.

"It was drizzly and visibility was reduced at the time."

He noticed Claridge coming up behind him in his rear view mirror and was concerned about his speed, he said, adding: "He would have been travelling at approximately 100mph in order to catch up with us quite quickly."

When he was pulled over, Claridge was "jumping up and down on the spot" as though he needed the toilet, Pc Bell added.

He said: "As Pc Dyson approached the vehicle, Mr Claridge alighted from his car and walked to the rear of his vehicle.

"At that moment in time Mr Claridge began jumping up and down on the spot on the hard shoulder... which indicated to me that he possibly needed to go to the toilet."

After he was cautioned in the back of the police car, Claridge said to the officers: "Come on, what do I need to do to stop this? I was desperate for the toilet", Pc Bell added.

The court heard that Claridge, driving a silver Peugeot 307, was at one point "straddling" two lanes as he attempted to move from the middle lane into the fast lane.

Pc Bell said he illegally overtook three cars on the nearside, including the unmarked police car, which was travelling at around 85mph.

When told that he may face prosecution for dangerous driving, Claridge told officers: "I'll lose my job", the court heard.

He later apologised to the police for his actions and was "very polite, co-operative, no problem whatsoever", Pc Bell said.

Pc Keith Dyson described Claridge's behaviour when stopped as "embarrassing".

He said: "As I started speaking to him he started jumping up and down on the hard shoulder, holding his crotch and acting like a child who is desperate to go to the toilet.

"He indicated that he was desperate for the toilet and was trying to find the services."

He added: "He continued to jump up and down in what I deemed to be an embarrassing action."

The officer said he initially told Claridge he could not urinate at the side of the road because of the high volume of traffic, but later relented, allowing him to go down a grass embankment to relieve himself.

When he first spotted Claridge coming up behind him on the motorway he estimated him to be driving at "100mph or more", Pc Dyson told the court.

He added that it was dark at the time of the incident, which was around 6.40pm, and glare from headlights and brake lights had reduced visibility.

Claridge, of Fareham, Hampshire, has also previously played for Wolves, Walsall, Millwall, Leicester City and Portsmouth, amongst others.

He enjoyed one of the most prolific spells in his career with Blues, scoring 35 goals in 88 games between 1994 and 1996, becoming the first player since Trevor Francis to score 20 goals in a season in the process. Claridge played just five games for Wolverhampton Wanderers and seven games for Walsall where he scored one goal in 2006.

The trial continues.