The pair had a bust-up at the start of the season after Ferdinand was left out of the side and looked to be heading for Palermo. That frank exchange of views in training helped re-ignite Ferdinand's Sunderland career.
Bruce said: "This is his third year here so it should not really be his chance, but he has to grasp it and make his claim and give me a headache. He certainly has all the tools to do it. The game is easy to him. He's a good athlete, possibly as good as we have got in the club, he's exceptionally quick, a good footballer on the left and right foot but he has to defend more intensely.
"We have to get that defensive side out of him, because we can't all be his brother."