Kosovo led after 34 seconds of the Euro 2020 qualifier at St Mary's Stadium on Tuesday, Valon Berisha giving the Three Lions a scare, but they roared back to lead 5-1 at half-time thanks to Sterling's inspirational display.
But Southgate is ready to show sufficient trust in his squad to shuffle his pack from the weekend as the likes of Jadon Sancho and Trent Alexander-Arnold push for starts.
"As I said, I'm expecting an enjoyable game".
"I remember going to Spain and thinking "well, a really tough game, but actually you look at our front three and their front three on the night and I felt that we were strong".
Kosovo, who only joined Federation Internationale de Football Association and UEFA in May 2016 and then lost nine consecutive 2018 World Cup qualifiers, haven't actually been beaten since November 2017 - as it happens, the last of those nine straight defeats against Iceland in Reykjavik.
Asked if his forwards know they can be among the best, Southgate replied: "They have great humility".
"I wasn't surprised by the result on Saturday against the Czech Republic".
Kosovo's players and coaches were furious but the goal stood.
"The tactical side of the game has been good".
"We are Kosovo and we are here against one of the best teams in the world, in my opinion - the best team in the world", he said. I think they possibly don't, because they sometimes don't view themselves as others do.
Bernard Challandes' side pressed ferociously from the first whistle and it did not take them long to force an error from Everton defender Keane.
I'm taking [Tuesday's] game out of the equation, because I think it will be an enjoyable game, the way they play, the way they press, the passion and enthusiasm they've got.
"I will see tomorrow because with Kosovo we are young, we are a young federation, never have we played against such an opponent". It's hard because there are so many new countries now and so many countries to involve in the process, but we've got to do the right thing for the supporters as well.
England elevate up their half-century at St Mary's tonight in their Euro 2020 Personnel A match against Kosovo, who are unbeaten in their previous 15 video games.
"We're delighted to be coming down to Southampton to play", he added.