Bent struck a hat-trick in last night's victory over Bolton Wanderers.
Bruce said: "I have had a bad enough time trying to pick a team for the last three months, so I am not going to tell Fabio Capello how to do it because he has been there, worn the T-shirt and done it.
"All I can say is he must be in his thoughts, he has to be because of his goalscoring exploits.
"For somebody at the very highest level to have the same amount of goals as [Didier] Drogba is quite staggering. Fair play to the kid, I am delighted for him.
"No disrespect to us, but to be at a team in the bottom half of the table and get what he has got, it's fantastic. It is unbelievable with 10 games to go.
"He is a natural goalscorer, so he still must be in with a shout because you have got [Wayne] Rooney and you have got [Jermain] Defoe. Those two come to mind, and there are not too many after that, natural goalscorers.
"He has got to be knocking on the door, has to be."