Carroll, who joined Liverpool in January for £35 million to become the most expensive British player ever, had impressed against Bruce's Latics when coming off the bench in their Boxing Day encounter in 2008.
Bruce was quoted a price of £4.5 million for the then-19-year-old striker, but Wigan could only afford to pay up to £2.5 million.
Bruce said: "He is a throwback to the good old days when I used to play against the likes of Joe Jordan, the old British No. 9.
"He is like Duncan Ferguson at his best. The great thing about Andy is he can jump, he has this great balance which allows him to jump and compete.
"When I was Wigan manager, he came on against us and scored [sic] with ten minutes to go. I rang Newcastle on the Monday morning and they quoted me £4.5m. I seriously thought about it but in the end, we could only go to £2.5m."
Bruce is set to come up against Carroll again on Sunday with the England international striker likely to make his full debut for Liverpool against Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is surprised that UEFA have not taken retrospective action against Braga defender Kaka for his elbow on Andy Carroll last week. The Reds' record signing was caught full on the nose by the Brazilian late in the second half of their Europa League last-16 first leg defeat in Portugal.
"Regards Andy Carroll and impact, the biggest impact was what I was asked about after the game about him getting caught with the elbow from Kaka,'' he said. "That will probably be what Andy remembers from the game.
"I never saw it in the game but I've seen it since and if there is no retribution from UEFA it will be a real surprise for me.''
Liverpool need to win against Braga on Thursday to progress and there is a clamour for Carroll to start at Anfield, but Dalglish said he was not sure whether that would happen.
"The fitter he gets the more tempting it will be but when that day comes I don't know,'' he added. "He is fit and well but what we do with him remains to be seen.
"Whether we will start with him or he comes on in the second half will be decided by how he does in training and what we think is best for us tomorrow night.''
Dalglish also said captain Steven Gerrard had begun recovery work after a groin operation last week which is expected to keep him out for a month.
"Steven has had his operation and he feels good,'' added the Scot. "He has started his rehabilitation already.''
Liverpool must win the Europa League to qualify for Europe next season.