England's newly appointed captain was speaking before the Three Lions depart for their base near St. Petersburg on Tuesday as preparations ramp up for their opening Group G fixture with Tunisia on Monday.
"But we are seeing that this is a team who is enjoying each other's company, getting on well and are very proud to represent their nation".
Heading into this year's tournament, we've ranked every team in the field of 32 to give you an idea of how things might shake out in Russian Federation.
World Cup 2018 Group G Preview | England | Belgium | Panama | Tunisia
The last two tournaments - the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 - have been particularly depressing for England's long-suffering fans.
Southgate added: "I think there was a shift in November when we brought in some of the younger players".
Should the England starlet be forced to sit out a series of World Cup matches matches he will undoubtedly be a great miss for his team, with the young striker most recently netting a sensational strike in the final World Cup warm-up match against Costa Rica. Sometimes going into a big tournament is about not losing and being passive but, for us, it's about playing attacking football.
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The World Cup gets underway on Thursday in Moscow. "We got ready for the UFC today, but it was good", he added. Check out the most valuable player on each team below, organised by their groups in the tournament.
Injuries could play a part next season, so maybe keeping him, even if he does not start every game is the right way to go.
"I've bounced back now - and while I will be extremely jealous I will be watching Gareth and the lads and hope they do extremely well", he said. So that's big tournaments.
talkSPORT is your home of the 2018 World Cup. As such, Southgate has been reluctant to be drawn into talking about England's chances of winning the competition.
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"I would love to win everything with Tottenham but, for me, personally, the World Cup outweighs them all". The national team have had a series of disappointments in major competitions, not winning a knock-out game for 12 years, while English club football has soared globally.
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