Sunderland boss Bruce hails Wickham influence in Bolton win
Wickham rattled the crossbar and gave the home defence a torrid time on his first start since his £8.1m summer move from Ipswich Town.
"You can see why we've invested the money we have in Connor," Bruce told safc.com.
He's a very good young player who will only get better.
"I detected after the Newcastle game that he might take some time to settle and I didn't want to just throw him in.
"He was disappointed not to start last week but today he showed what a good future he's got if he keeps knuckling down."
Bruce also praised Wickham's physical presence at such as young age, adding: "When you look at Connor, you think 'wow', then you remember how old he is.
"He is still eligible for our youth team.
"He was up for every minute of the battle against [David] Wheater and [Gary] Cahill and I was delighted with him."