The England coach’s side face Germany tonight here in Dortmund in his fifth game in charge and his first since being confirmed in the job permanently in November.
And Southgate, who lost defender Phil Jones after he suffered a broken toe in training ground challenge with Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling on Monday, insisted England’s preparation had to be better.
“Look at Spain. We’re an island, we’ve got to get off the island and learn from them,” he said. “Being an island saved us in 1945, I’m not so sure it’s helped us ever since. The lads see one league, they think we’re the centre of the earth and we’re not.
“Other countries are happy to say nice things to us and then pack us off home at a certain stage and think, ‘Thank God we’ve got rid of them’. That’s how it feels to me and I don’t like it.
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Gareth Southgate has taken a swipe at past England regimes
Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott are missing through injury
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“We need to change the way we do things tactically, with physical preparation, our style of play and mentality. We’ve had success in every other sport in our country. We are probably the missing piece.”
Significantly left out of this squad have been Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott, who have both had fitness problems, as has Jack Wilshire, also missing.
The England coach said: “If we are going to have a world-class team we need a world-class support system.
“We need to be the best possible, whether you’re analysing the opposition, nutrition, recovery, key things in an international environment.”
Gareth Southgate visited the England rugby camp last month
Southgate last month went to see England rugby union coach Eddie Jones at work before they beat Wales, and he said: “The detail of the way they work was impressive. A huge emphasis on physical training.
“The culture in rugby we can take something from. Eddie has a winning mentality – constantly asking for more. They were 18 games unbeaten and I saw his quote saying they are nowhere near ready to win a World Cup.
Smalling stood on Jones’s foot in England training at St George’s Park on Monday, and now the unfortunate United defender is likely to be out for at least a month with a fractured toe, having had a series of problems this season. The news is likely to infuriate United manager Jose Mourinho.
Southgate said: “It was just a tackle, a nothing sort of thing. It is very unfortunate for Phil, and a huge disappointment because he has been playing very well and he has had injury difficulties in the past. Hopefully it is not too serious, but it needs to be checked out.”