Bruce has shown faith in the man he brought with him from Wigan, handing him the armband at Liverpool yesterday as Cattermole returned after serving a two-match ban.
"There's a part of me that feels that when a player has been constantly battered by criticism, it can bring out the best in him - and I sincerely hope that's the case with Lee," said the Black Cats boss.
"It gives him something to prove.
"He wants to show he is not the bad boy which he has been made out to be and he wants to show he is worthy of wearing the armband.
"I've spoken to him and he understands his responsibilities."