But on Monday he was still in England, reducing his chances of returning in time for the game.
Southgate was parachuted into the hot seat, having initially been reluctant to step into the Three Lions void, and has overseen an impressive change in fortunes since taking the reins.
The online stream of a match between a litter of English bulldogs and Maltese Bichon will kick off just as millions of fans tune in to see if England under captain Harry Kane can reach their first World Cup quarter-final in 12 years.
If James plays and is fit, his creativity is key to Colombia and if he misses it all the responsibility it will be down to wide players Juan Cuadrado and Juan Quintero, whose set pieces have been a key weapon for Colombia so far in Russian Federation. "We mustn't lose sight of that". Add Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle at Italia 90, Paul Ince and David Batty at France 98, David Beckham and Darius Vassell at Euro 2004, the misses of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher at the 2006 World Cup and the Euro 2012 aberrations of Ashley Young and Ashley Cole.
"We were driving back to our hotel after beating Malta with some obscene chants being thrown at us from supporters". "We'll play with no fear and with that freedom. We're all fighting, we're all raring to go and we're all looking forward to the next game".
Qualification for the last 16 was sealed with a game to spare after they followed up their last-gasp win against Tunisia with a ruthless display in the shellacking of Panama.
"I had a similar injury when we played Real Madrid and scored two so if I had scored maybe people would think differently. We aren't going to change for no one and no team". If they can, Southgate will be a hero, but if not, he can prepare for criticism.
Sanju BEATS PK to become director Rajkumar Hirani's biggest opener
It goes on to say that "while Hirani's Sanju is about the paradoxical life of a star, Ranbir's is much more deep and complex". However, Sanjay was watching his biopic but the eyes of Ranbir and Hirani were at him to know his reaction.
"I'm really pleased with his performances", the England boss told talkSPORT.
"I don't think we lost any momentum".
"I'm slightly concerned, because as a centre-half that took a lot of knocks to the head, I'm not normally synonymous with fashion icon", he joked to the BBC.
"He's a player that we know all about and we wouldn't judge him on the period he had in the Premier League, that's for sure".
"They (Colombia) might not be talking about them but they're definitely practising".
"Of course some keepers are 6ft 6in, but they have attributes that they are not so good at".
'When the referee's whistle goes, you've got as long as you want to take the penalty. "It's rare to find perfection in anybody". He netted 24 times last season with Monaco, after hitting 30 in the previous campaign. I can't dance, I'm stiff as hell. He learned that early in the professional game, and treats inquiries about the potential for World Cup immortality as he might once have surveyed Millwall's play-off hopes.