Manquillo was outstanding for Newcastle United against Zaha in the weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at St James's Park.
The right-back – who is keeping DeAndre Yedlin and Emil Krafth out of the starting XI – limited Zaha’s chances in and around the box.
And head coach Bruce was “delighted” for the 25-year-old, who also played well against Sterling in the 2-2 draw against Manchester City at St James’s Park late last month.
“It’s what you want,” said Bruce. “The most important thing when you come in is to try and evaluate what you’ve got in front of you.
“I thought he was unfortunate to come out of the team when I look at it. Again, it’s that competition. I’m delighted for him. He played really well. He was exceptional against Zaha. He did really well against Raheem Sterling a couple of weeks ago.
“Very quietly, pleasantly, he’s surprised me. I’m delighted for him. If he comes in and play well, he deserves to stay in there.
Krafth joined the club from Amiens in the summer on a four-year deal. However, the 25-year-old has found his opportunities limited by the form of Manquillo and the return of Yedlin from groin surgery.
“Emil’s been scratching his head thinking ‘what’s happened’, and DeAndre not being fit has opened the door for Manquillo,” said Bruce. “He’s done very well.”