A 22-man squad met up at St. George’s Park on Sunday night before getting down to work on the training pitch on Monday morning.
England U21s v Croatia U21s
UEFA Euro U21 Championship
Play-off first leg
5.45pm, Friday 10 October 2014
Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Live on BT Sport
Call 0871 222 1877 for tickets
And after leading the Three Lions to nine wins from their ten group qualifying games, the head coach, his staff and players are treating the build-up to this game in a similar way to any other.
"For us, it’s a normal week’s preparation, it just ends with a game with a little bit more resting on it," he told TheFA.com.
"I think they’re looking forward to the challenge of this week, they want to test themselves against the best teams.
"They’re looking forward to the profile of the game."
Southgate has been in charge of the Under-21s for just over a year now and admits he has seen changes in his players and squad over that time.
But he has been pleased with the way those involved have reacted and worked together during what has been a successful campaign to date.
"We have some who have been with us for 12 months, and some for less, but they’re a good group to work with," he explained.
"Competition for places has been important throughout the campaign. It’s never been about 11 players, we’ve wanted to integrate a squad since the start of last season and this summer."
England play their first leg of the play-off against Croatia at Molineux on Friday evening and tickets for the game cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
The England Under-21s head coach speaks about his squad's first training session ahead of Euro play-off