"The reality now is that we are qualified and in a tournament like the World Cup you're only as good as the 23 players in your squad".
"No matter what I can say, actually getting the guys on the field is far more powerful than anything else I can talk to them about".
"Every game we want to win, I don't think as a professional you can go on a pitch without wanting to win", he said.
Southgate knows how much that will mean to the defence-minded player, having headed to two World Cups as a squad member himself but only played at the 1998 tournament. We've not won a knockout game since 2006, so why we are starting to plot which would be a better venue for our semifinal is beyond me, really. OK, we know what they don't have - experience - but what's just around the corner for them? Yet a troubled start for Germany means the Group G victor risks coming across either the defending champions or a feared Brazil earlier in the knockout rounds.More news: Spain needs to stay motivated for last World Cup group match
With progress to the last-16 already assured, both sides are planning changes for Thursday's Kaliningrad encounter despite the match deciding the victor of Group G.
"He has shown his value to us already both before the tournament and now during the tournament".
Harry Kane (24), Raheem Sterling (23), John Stones (24), Dele Alli (22), Jesse Lingard (25), Marcus Rashford (20) and Eric Dier (24) should all still be around in Qatar, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (19) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (22) also emerging as stars of the future. "We are in the fortunate position", Southgate said. "The reality is we put ourselves in this situation we wanted to qualify and we have done that".
It's the question on the lips of every England fan - is it better to lose to Belgium on Thursday night? "We're just pleased we're in the next round". A draw will take them into tiebreakers, where it could even go to fair play points (yellow cards, red cards) to decide who wins. That would mean we top the group and then we can move forward. "We're ahead by a yellow card or something but we want to go and try to win the game and take the momentum into the knockout stages".
Two years is a long time in football.