Watford boss Sean Dyche says he dropped Scott Loach from a league game for the first time in almost three years in order to give the keeper a break.
Rene Gilmartin replaced the 22-year-old for Tuesday's 2-1 win over Millwall.
"I just felt it was time to come out, have a look at it, get a feel for it and have a think about it," Dyche told BBC Three Counties Radio.
"Sometimes that does you the world of good, it's a hard decision to make, but that's my job."
Loach, a former England Under-21 goalkeeper and two-time member of senior England squads, has been an ever present in the Championship since a 3-0 win over QPR on 22 November, 2008.
"It's not a decision we took lightly," Dyche added.
"People forget he's played a lot of football in a very short time as a young keeper. Now he's not so young and is a bit more experienced."
Victory over the Lions secured a first home win of the season for the Hornets
"It's nothing short of what we deserved," the manager continued.
"We've had a big job on here, we still need to develop and get stronger, but we're on our way."
Meanwhile, defender Lloyd Doyley has signed a new deal at Vicarage Road until the summer of 2013.
The 28-year-old has played 344 Hornets games since making his debut 10 years ago in a 3-3 draw with Birmingham City.