A miserable summer for the national teams led to serious questions about the state of English football.
The under-20s failed to win a match at their World Cup after the under-21 side lost all three of their matches at the European Championship in Israel.
The latter performance saw Stuart Pearce replaced at the helm by Southgate, who was quick to defend England's young talent.
It appears he might just be right, with the likes of Ravel Morrison, Ross Barkley and Berahino already coming to prominence this season.
The latter's progress has been particularly marked, shining for both the under-21s and West Brom, for whom he scored the winner at Manchester United recently.
"I am delighted for him because I worked with him at the under-20s World Cup a couple of years ago and he was a super lad to work with," Southgate said of Berahino.
"You want to see the players you are working with progressing and doing well.
"I have said to him 'steady' because we will lose him to (senior team manager) Roy Hodgson, but it is just nice to see young English players getting a run, showing people what they can do.
"I said to them when I first took them 'there is a challenge for us'. Everyone is saying young English players can't play in a certain way or do this or that.
"The only way to stop those accusations is to go out and do it and slowly but surely they are making progress, which is really important for them."
Southgate is pleased that the number of his squad playing regular first-team football is increasing, with that figure rising from a third to two-thirds in the last month alone.
He expects that figure to rise further as more players head to Football League clubs on loan, although that may not include Wilfried Zaha.
Manchester United forked out £15million to bring the winger in from Crystal Palace, but he has yet to appear for David Moyes' side except in the Community Shield and during their pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East.
"I think it is just a situation where he is getting used to a new club and a different style of play," Southgate said.
"I am sure in time he will be an asset for Manchester United, but I guess everything there with the new manager and everything, everybody is getting used to a new way of working.
"Wilf has only just arrived there and I think from his point of view it is as important that the new manager can see what he is about as it is for him to go and play first-team football.
"They will make a decision based on that, I am sure."
Zaha will almost certainly start on Thursday when England take on minnows San Marino in a European Championship qualifier.
England are 1/25 favourites to win the clash and Southgate wants to see a more ruthless streak from Berahino, Zaha and co.
"The first team went there last year and were very professional," the former Middlesbrough manager said.
"At under-21 level, San Marino have not been thumped by anybody in this campaign and beat Wales last month.
"Any team in any given game can score a goal against you, but what we've got to do is try to score, put a marker down.
"Last month we did lots of very good things, but probably weren't ruthless enough and we have to slowly crank up the pressure on the players."