Rooney will be unavailable for all of England's group games after UEFA handed him a three-match ban for his red card against Montenegro in Podgorica last week.
Bent has started to come of age at international level with four goals in his last five appearances for his country, and Villa boss McLeish is confident the club's record signing will be able to aid Fabio Capello in overcoming Rooney's absence in Poland and Ukraine.
McLeish said: "Can Bent replace Rooney for England? Yes. I think so. He is a great finisher but he has a lot of other aspects to his game as well.
"Maybe because of the systems, with one playing up front over the last year, people don't see the other parts to his game he does so well.
"I've been impressed by Benty's overall play. I used to think that he was just a last third of the pitch sort of player but there is a lot more to his game.
"I thought he was that goal-poacher type, which he is, but there are definitely other strings to his bow.
"He is not a target man as such but he is decent in the air and holds things up.
"Darren is a much better all-round player than he is given credit for and is making his mark with England now. But I wouldn't know what Fabio Capello thinks about his overall game."
Bent has scored 11 goals in 22 appearances for Villa and has been nicknamed 'the Mailman' by club owner-chairman Randy Lerner.
Bent said: "Mr Lerner has always been great to me and, if I've done well in games and after England matches, he'll text me and say congratulations.
"Even after I missed some chances against Newcastle, he texted and said 'don't worry and keep going'. That's the kind of person he is.
"He calls me 'the Mailman'. It's after a top basketball player, Karl Malone. They called him 'The Mailman' because apparently he always delivered (the goods) so Randy calls me that now!
"He's always been good to me and I know he was good to one or two of the other players who aren't here anymore like Ashley Young.
"He said the same, that Randy had always been fantastic with him and he'd always be grateful to Randy. I think a lot of the lads think he's a top, top chairman.
"He cares about the football club and he cares about the history of the football club."
Source: Team Talk