John Mensah and Paulo da Silva staked their claims in emphatic style in Tuesday night's third-round tie at the Stadium of Light.
The Ghana and Paraguay international captains made their first home starts against Blues, and turned in assured displays with £8million signing Anton Ferdinand an interested spectator on the bench.
Bruce could now have big decisions to make ahead of Sunday's Premier League visit of Wolves.
He said: "You just see Mensah and you look and think, 'That's a bit of quality'.
"He has got that arrogance that top players have got, he is quick, powerful, he jumps, heads the ball well, he's tough.
"That's why he is captain of his country and da Silva mirrors him in that respect. He will be okay too.
"It's taken a little while but the two of them are here now, they are part of us now, thankfully. They ill be big players for the club, I am sure of that.
"The two of them are captains of their countries, and you don't captain your country unless you have got something.
"Of course, they have never played in English football, that's the big question mark.
"But I am sure they will be big players for the club over the next few months and years. They are two really good players and they both can play anywhere too."
The game was effectively over within 23 minutes as a strong Sunderland side roared out of the blocks.
Jordan Henderson's fourth-minute opener, his first senior goal for his home club, set them on the way, and when £6million striker Fraizer Campbell made it 2-0 19 minutes later there was only one result on the cards.
Had goalkeeper Maik Taylor not blocked a close-range Kenwyne Jones effort with his legs before the break and referee Mike Dean not chalked off a Mensah strike after it, the margin of victory would have been even greater.
Bruce said: "It was good for Fraizer and good for Jordan, two young boys who I am sure will have a big future at Sunderland.
"You will always remember your first goal and for them to get it tonight, they will like that. It was very, very pleasing.
"We were very, very comfortable, it was a very decent performance. To be fair, we were easy winners."
Blues boss Alex McLeish was philosophical in defeat after resting seven of his key men for the trip to Wearside.
He said: "Such are the injuries we have suffered that I couldn't risk people tonight, I just couldn't risk one or two players who I really need at top sharpness for the weekend.
"We would love to win the Carling Cup, don't get me wrong. Our supporters would love to see some semblance or a wee chink of going to Wembley.
"But at the moment, we are still a work in progress and I don't have as strong a squad as I would like to have. But we are building towards that."